WRITING THE STORIES
1. Use a catchy title. The average length of a page visit is less than a minute, and most of this time is spent “above the fold”.
2. Be brief. Use as little text as possible. It is known scientifically that the number of people scrolling down a page to finish a story is a very tiny fraction of those who began. If the text is shorter enough that the readers don't need to scroll down we could avoid some defectors. We know more than we can tell.
3. Being creative. Never use a linear - predictable story. For surprising the audience, we should find some non-linear ways of storytelling.
4. Simple and straightforward. We should use synthesis, using very few information just at the service of our plot and objectives.
5. Memorable. Using the fantastic and extraordinary elements that heritage and art have naturally to underline the uniqueness and strength of the story. It's vital to send some powerful idea or image for being kept in the mind of the readers.
6. Active audience. Catch the attention and build up an active audience by asking questions or leaving questions in the air. Ellipsis is a very useful resource. The audience is the co-creator of the story by filling the gaps.
7. Connection. It's necessary to create the narrative contract that connects the writer and the audience and permits the poetic license (not being constrained to a facts succession).
8. Empathy. Use a personal view, however not overemphasize. Familiarity is one of the keys to achieving good communication.
9. Common goods. Use some familiar elements, well-known by the audience: legends, icons... Use some (not much) universal concepts related to the specific ones.
10. The bigger picture. Don't lose the reference of the wider context, even global. Finding a whole cohesive big narrative: a general atmosphere, a leitmotiv (the city), a mood or one element (image, icon, word, colour...) linking the stories somehow.
11. Fragmentation. The specific stories might be used as independent chapters of the whole narrative of the city, reinforcing the role of an active reader.
12. Accuracy. The information is perfectly accurate (but not boring). Don't lie! Check it if necessary. Details are important, adding interest and credibility.
13. Physical. Highlight the specific (sensitive) elements of the story: architecture, sites, colours, flavours, tastes... Exploit the uniqueness of a first-hand experience. Like all good writing, show, don’t tell. Make things visually vivid for your reader. The more you can be on site, the better.
14. Surprise effect! Use some rhetorical resources: comparison, shift perspective; metaphors, examples, word picture, humanisation, contrast, contradictions, open-ended questions, quotes...
15. Don't avoid problems. Good stories need antagonists and challenges to be resolved.
16. Timing. A balance in the timeline between the past-present and future elements of the narration. Highlighting the future as the main aim. Re-use the narratives of the past in the present tense, adapted to the new ways of digital storytelling, new uses of language and images.
17. Use a dramatic moment, a turning point or powerful imagery as a hook. Reveal some secret creating expectation and dramatic tension. Would it be possible to overcome the obstacles in the way? Most of the CH has loads of secrets gathered along history, and they can be used to build some atmosphere of suspense.
18. Infinite. It might be a “never-ending story”, nor exactly closed with a proper ending.
19. Make an impact. Let's leave some work for the reader: Interpreting CH is a first challenge for the audience (personally); protecting it and saving it for the future is a long-term (and collective) one. The reader is the hero!
This is a call for action!!