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Documentary Storytelling, 4th Edition by Sheila Curran Bernard

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Chapter 7 Close Viewing

Audiences often respond to documentary work primarily in terms of its content or issues raised. In some ways, this is a mark of success, in the same way that people binge-watching a television drama may not take the time to notice how carefully the various subplots were constructed over an entire season, or how readers of a terrific mystery novel race through the pages to find out who did it. Done well, craft should feel inevitable, seamless, and invisible. Characters are simply alive; the flow of ideas and plot feels organic; the argument seems well-built and earned.

But people who want to write novels or episodic television or documentaries need to figure out how that success was achieved. This chapter offers several ...

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