Loosen Science Writing from Technical Grooves

January 20, 2023 § Leave a comment

In our latest Craft Essay offerings, Anna Farro Henderson explores the intricacies of world-building and narrative structure in effective science writing:

A key element of the scientific process is play. This is often overlooked. When I say play, I mean the kind of game that might end with everyone crying. The suspense, risks, hope, joy, and dead ends of making hypotheses, forging wilderness, and running experiments are messy. Wonder fuels inquiry and, often, human connection sustains it. What we read about science usually leaves out these cultural and emotional landscapes. To harness and incorporate humanity into our stories about science, we can use both creative process and craft…

I’m in the editorial process of a book of essays I’ve written about being a climate scientist and going to work in politics. I started with a traditional narrative: a problem needs to be solved, the hero tries and fails, the hero has a breakthrough, everything is better. But I haven’t solved climate change—research is incremental. My drama is the attempt to translate nature into science and science into political action. To capture this effectively, I had to let the essays take other shapes.

You can read Anna Farro Henderson’s entire essay, and her extremely useful thoughts on how to tell our science-based stories in Our Craft Section, here.

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