The Strategy of Story

How story works and how you can make it work for you.

The first thing you do after you buy a new phone is figure out how it works—and then how you can make it work for you, with your favorite apps and programs. Because you know the more you understand the functionality of that phone, the more you’ll get out of it.

The same is true of story. The more you understand how it works, the better able you’ll be to use it effectively. That’s story strategy—knowing how to use story to get the results you need.

Story is an incredibly effective communications tool, and “The Strategy of Story” deconstructs that tool, breaking down the elements of story, helping readers understand why story works, and teaching them how to apply what they’ve learned to develop (and deliver) more strategic stories.

Nora Barry is a communications strategist and a story coach for executives in technology and life sciences. She pioneered new story forms when she launched the first website for online film in 1998. She has written for Reuters and the Wall St. Journal, and published with MIT Press.

Nora’s Previous Publications.

The Home Fires Are Burning My Feet. Amazon. 2011

“Medea Madness”, Pink TV: 60 Years of Women on Prime Time, Kendall Hunt Publishing. 2010.

Careers in Investment Banking, (Universum, 2008)

“Introduction”, Webcinema: The Cybernetic Image.  (Publisher? 2006).   

“Descent to the Underworld:  A Case Study in International, Educational Collaboration”.  A White paper prepared in conjunction with the Access Grid of the Argonne National Laboratories at the University of Chicago, for the National Science Foundation. (2006)

“Descent to the Underworld”, A Minima, Journal of New Media. Arte Actual, 2006.  

Story Forms. Remixing Narrative Media. University International of Andalusia Press, Seville, Spain. 2005.

“Talking Pictures: Networked Cinematic Technologies”, Human Affairs Journal. The Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia.  2005

“Telling Tales Online”, An Anthology on Electronic Digital Media and Electronic Culture.  The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2004.

“Telling Stories on Screen : A History of Web Cinema”,   Future Cinema:  The Cinematic Imagery After Film. MIT Press, 2003.

“Digital Shanachies”, TakeOver: Who’s Doing the Art of Tomorrow.  Ars Electronica Press.  Linz, Austria, 2002

About Nora Barry

Nora Barry is a story innovator, a student of story and a story coach. She has written and coached executives in technology, pharma and media for sales and customer meetings, trade shows such as Mobile World Congress and SIGGRAPH, and political and public events. Her clients have included Lenovo, Red Hat, Ellucian, Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Astra Zeneca, MDVIP, Urovant Science and Pfizer.

Nora has written for the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer and has contributed essays and chapters to several books. She is the author of several screenplays which have placed at major festival and screenplay competitions, several of which have been sold.

In 1998 she launched The Bit Screen, the first online site for web film. In January of 1999 the site was featured by the New York Times and quickly went international, drawing over a million viewers a week. The Bit Screen became a lab for experiments in digital narratives and online storytelling, helping give rise to data-based, interactive and pass-along films. Dubbed “La Dame du Web Cinema”, Nora became a guest speaker at film festivals and conferences in the US,  Europe and Southeast Asia. She wrote and published a number of articles about emerging narratives, including the definitive “History of Web Cinema,” which was published by MIT Press in conjunction with the show she curated for Future Cinema, at the ZKM Museum in Germany.

Nora went on to create several digital film platforms, including Kurz Film Kanal for Europe Online, and Cinema Lounge for AT&T/Media One. She originated “Streaming Cinema”, the first festival of online film, which traveled to Europe and Asia, as well as to cities in the US. She pushed story forms to the next level when she originated the first live, online film mix, “Story Streams.” The project brought together three filmmakers in France, Mexico and Canada who each created their own version of the universal myth of “The Hero’s Journey.” The films were uploaded and mixed live by a VJ at a studio in Philadelphia and streamed live over the Internet.

Again experimenting with emerging technologies and digital narratives, Nora created the first “Game-Film”, an online video game that generated short films based on how the game was played. The films were created collaboratively, using the Internet2, by teams in Beijing and Seattle; Salt Lake City and Philadelphia; and Rio de Janeiro and Uppsala. Exploring the universality of myth, Nora used the story of the descent to the underworld as the subject of the game and films.

Her most recent online narrative platform is The COVID-19 Story Project, a compilation of stories from people around the world during the first few months of lockdown.

Nora has served on a number of film juries, including Cannes Digital Films. Most recently she was a panelist and jurist at the International Short Film Festivals in Vienna and Overhausen.

Nora has a background in foreign languages, and worked as an interpreter at global business conferences, giving her a way with words and an ear for accents and speech patterns.  Her experience with narrative structures has shaped her approach to speechwriting and coaching, and has led ultimately to the development of presentation skills workshops based on story (A Storytelling Approach to Presentation Development; Stand and Deliver, a Story and Skills Presentation workshop), which she has delivered to a number of organizations.

Ms. Barry was graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University with an MS in Communications, where she studied television and media production. Post-Syracuse she studied directing at the Walnut St. Theater. She received her BA in Political Science and French from LaSalle University and studied at L’Université Catholique de L’Ouest in Angers, France. In addition, she has pursued coursework towards an MBA.