By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
I've shared on these virtual pages before that I am, at a slightly advanced age, learning to play guitar. From my early efforts I can report that, though I've advised on many patent cases, nothing I've encountered is as complicated as music theory for the guitar. I thought learning the chords would be, if not an easy task, at least a finite one. No chance: There are hundreds, with some bearing names like "F sharp diminished seventh, add six" (that's actually one of the two chords in the band America's "Horse with No Name"). Here's something else I didn't expect: When playing a chord, you're often strumming across all six strings, but you want only some of those strings to vibrate, while the others should be muted with a light touch of a finger. While they're complicated, at the root of the chords is the very simple idea that some notes sound nice together and some notes really don't. I still cannot quite grasp why, but when playing a scale that I've never heard before, I will still know -- immediately and without a doubt -- when I play a wrong note that doesn't belong in that scale. Dissonance stands out, consonance fits in.
That same principle applies to themes and other central messages used in discovery and trial, at least metaphorically. In your case story, you will have an overarching theme you're trying to convey. Some facts (hopefully most) are going to fit with and support that theme. But in a reasonably complex case, at least a few facts won't. It's natural to think of your case as having "strengths" and "weaknesses," because that frames it as an argument. But viewing your case as a thematic story, it makes more sense to think of it as having mostly consonant notes and a few dissonant notes. Effectively telling your story comes down to making sure the consonant notes are ringing out, while doing your best to mute the dissonant notes. In this post, I'll share a couple of examples to illustrate what I am talking about.