Narratives can be structured in a number of ways, but the classical form is that of the linear narrative – a story with a beginning, middle and end, strong characters and a story arc along which elements of the narrative run.
Narrative stories will also likely have within them the following moments:
exposition of the plot // conflict // climax // resolution
See also Freytag’s
If one were following this classical structure, then the key stages in structuring a narrative would include:
introducing the location
giving the story a ‘face’
letting people tell their own story
contextualizing those stories
following a dramatic form
It is vital to stress these are not rules to follow or templates to apply automatically. These are the elements of common and traditional narrative structures. However, whether linear or non-linear (the latter being exemplified by flashbacks, memories and other arrangements of time), whether they have a resolution or are open-ended, narratives can contain the following dimensions:
time // spatiality // dramaturgy // causality // personification
For someone developing a visual story, the most important thing to ask is ‘what is the story you really want to tell?’ Answering that can mean working through these questions:
what is the issue?
what will be the [key ] events/moments?
if needed, who are the characters?
what is the context?
The relationship between story, event and and issue requires knowledge of the context above all else. That demands research because not everything that drives photography is visual.