Monday Guest Feature: The Plus/Minus Storytelling System


PodMov Daily: Monday, April 6

Episode 178: Your Monday Mix

Monday Guest Feature: The Plus/Minus Storytelling System

This Monday’s guest article from podcaster and documentary filmmaker Doug Fraser is all about the ups and downs. With this next installment in the Pro Storytelling series, Fraser explains how a “plus/minus” system of emotional shifts steadily builds drama while holding your listeners’ attention.

“If things are always sunny in a story, listeners get numb to the happiness. If it’s always bad, they ache for a light at the end of the tunnel,” Fraser writes. “So unless your aim is to be either the next Care Bears or an utterly depressing podcast, then come with me on a journey into the +/- system of storytelling.”

This framework is far from contained to the editing room. It can and should be used to guide conversations. Fraser explains how keeping your subject’s emotional narrative in mind will help “you to go into an interview equipped to recognize key moments of a story.”

Short Fiction Best Practices: Jonathan Mitchell of The Truth

Jonathan Mitchell, the creator of anthology-style fiction podcast The Truth, makes 20-minute episodes described as “short stories that are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always intriguing.” The Truth has been featured on programs like This American Life and Snap Judgment.

A Spotify for Podcasters blog post by Wil Williams details a talk with Mitchell “about his history in podcasts and broadcast, the importance of structure in storytelling, and how to deliver poignant stories in a short amount of time.” Mitchell’s passionate 20-year career in radio shines through his philosophy.

“I would say my personal feeling is, people should value originality and personal view over, say, writing to the marketplace,” Mitchell said. “Find the thing that you wish there was a market for and create a market for that. What I mean is, be true to yourself and let that be your creative guide.”

Happy Monday, readers, and thank goodness for special episodes that bring entertaining comfort. Treats like the “Tranquillusionist” subset of The Allusionist are popping up like spring flowers. Has a fellow podcaster's work helped you through the week? Let them know.


Team PM

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Cartoon planet: An “imaginative vision of alternate reality podcasting” is on its way to Netflix. Ben Travers of IndieWire profiles “The Midnight Gospel,” a futuristic animated series from “Adventure Time” creator Pendleton Ward and podcaster Duncan Trussell.
  • Dear diary: On Saturday the Google Podcasts team sat down for a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. Abner Li of 9to5Google recaps the chat, in which product head Zack Reneau-Wedeen notes that “simplicity has been and remains a top priority.”
  • Out west: Chris Lambert is the host of In Your Own Backyard, a popular podcast about the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart. Brenna Ehrlich of Rolling Stone follows Lambert's unexpected journey as new details emerge in the decades-old case.
  • Curtain call: What are the CCPA and GDPR, and what do they mean in terms of privacy policy for podcasters? Lindsay Harris Friel of The Podcast Host outlines these major data-protection policies and “a few simple steps to comply with big data laws.”

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