why narrative architecture?

Narrative architecture represents a research-backed approach to designing stories and message networks with ethical and structural integrity. Structural integrity comes from alignment and ethical integrity from a consistently ethical use of frame management.

As a narrative architect, I use my narratological understanding of story structure to produce multiscale story models that clearly indicate the overall shape and layout of stories, as well as the functional relationships among story building blocks. When it comes to complex message networks, this process requires patient analysis and yields valuable insight into their temporal dimension.


Understanding narrative structure and frame management at this level of granularity is crucial to designing business narratives that are not just narratively intelligent, but also culturally and emotionally intelligent and respectful of human autonomy.

Narrative architecture allows for powerfully ethical story design and message network deployment. When used for internal communications, this approach fosters collaborative culture by making it easy for employees to find common ground. It is especially useful to organizations seeking to attract and retain millennial talent by aligning internal and external brand messages about inclusion, diversity, work/life balance, and social responsibility in ways that are attractive, engaging, and authentic.

Powerfully ethical. Stories for good. Stories for community.


Work with me to learn why people prefer information in story form, and how you can use narrative strategies to increase the structural integrity of message networks and make any message more attractive.


Drawing upon a narratological and scientific understanding of narrative as a powerful information structure, I will teach you how to craft messages that inspire, educate, inform, increase engagement, build consensus, and ignite change. You'll learn how to do all of this without compromising your integrity or the autonomy of others.


I offer 1-1 coaching for individuals who wish to improve their storymaking and storytelling skills or create storified message kits for career building and business development. For individuals, organizations, and brands, I offer workshops, trainings, and master classes in leadership storytelling, collaborative storytelling, narrative architecture, and voice. I am also available for keynotes and strategic consulting.


Contact me for details.


Write to find out more

Criscillia Benford Architecture

P.O. Box 872

Menlo Park, CA 94026

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about Criscillia

It’s no wonder that Criscillia became a narrative architect and communications consultant. An early lover of myths, fairytales, and folktales from around the world, Criscillia was delighted to discover the field of Narratology as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin.


Narratology is a human science offering predictive theories, and dedicated to understanding the fundamental building blocks of narrative, how they have been used in the past, and how they could be used in the future.


Narratology provided Criscillia with the tools to understand narrative’s power to alter, preserve, or reinforce biases, beliefs, and behaviors. Criscillia calls this mind-altering power frame management.


After living in London and working as an Academic Advisor in the film department at UT-Austin, Criscillia went on to earn her PhD in English from Stanford where she specialized in Narratology and Victorian Literature.


During her time as a graduate student, Criscillia combined classical narratology with cognitive narratology and information theory to develop a deep understanding of frame management and new methods for modeling narratives and other “artistic texts” as multi-level information structures.

After graduate school, Criscillia taught World Literature, Victorian Literature, and introductory humanities seminars at the University of Chicago, Duke, and Stanford. She offers courses in Victorian Literature through Stanford's Continuing Studies program and storytelling workshops through ReBoot Accel.

Criscillia started Criscillia Benford Architecture in 2017 to help socially-responsible people, brands, and organizations translate their priorities and values into resonant messages.