Profile as story

I am working on a profile as a school assignment.  In my continuing quest to free my brain of magazine writing, as usual my brain is full of challenges and confusion.  I’m using reporting from the story I wrote for the Chronicle about Mormon missionaries, and when I sat down to work on the profile I immediately started combing through […]

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Can it be deep but not somber?

Today I read this installment of the “Why’s this so good?” series on the Nieman Storyboard site.  This post, written by Joanna Kaskissis, discussed Michael Paterniti’s account of the 2010 Haitian earthquake and how the author’s use of language made the story compelling.  It was a sad story, written with the depth born of insightful reporting.  But I’ve been thinking lately – must a moving story always be sad?  Paterniti wrote: The wandering survivors, too, were caked and stunned. To pass one was to see your own reflection, some strange mix of horror and elation. Two houses in a row might have been leveled while a third might have remained untouched, the line between life and death a couple of feet. Sad, horrifying, and brilliantly written.  Is there a parallel in writing about a day of joy?  This is a corollary of the thought I had about crime writing – crime is compelling.  So are natural disasters.  Is finding a happy story and telling it well a greater challenge than writing about something inherently sad or shocking? Now that I’ve FINALLY gotten all the “commercial” articles done that I have had hanging over my head for two months or more, I can fully turn my attention to school.  And now I’m not sure quite where to start.  When I sat down and just let my fingers fly, I slid right into that somber tone.  It’s so easy.  But if I […]

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Should I even have a bed in my office?

Well, yes I do.  That’s the way the house is configured.  And yes, it is where I do my reading.  And yes, falling asleep occurs.  (Passive tense intended to avoid acknowledging responsibility.)  And that’s why I found this video pertinent.  Right now I’m playing the full White Album, the bed is as comfy as it always is, there is a stack of papers on my desk, and so the door is open to be lazy.  I finally replaced my laptop, so I will again be able to go to my satellite office – Panera – to work without the distractions, and build up my stamina.

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A score for a book?

It occurred to me – is there a way in writing to reproduce the effect of a movie score?  For instance, the harmonica tune that floats through “Midnight Cowboy”; the movie wouldn’t be the same without that.  It doesn’t really impact the plot.  It enhances the viewer’s experience of the story.  So is there a way to achieve the same […]

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If you don’t say no, you have to dig in

I couldn’t sleep most of last night thinking about the work I haven’t gotten done.  It was such a huge mistake to say yes to two Toastmaster articles, one Azizah article, one Islamic Horizons article and one Chronicle article all during roughly the same two-month period.  It can be done, but if one significant thing happens everything falls to pieces, […]

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