Giving your story characters...and letting it be THEIRS

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Crossing Over, the section by Samantha Power, was the one that caught my attention through this section. The first part talks about her struggle in writing about hte atrocities of multiple genocides throughout the world and the lack of response that the United State shown again and again in such circumstances. Obviously when it is worked like that, people are going to care. Her struggle was writing about something that ALREADY happened, some of them years before, and keeping people intrigued in her story. While I am not, nor do I plan, to write on multiple genocides through out the world, Powers doesn't bring up a situation that many times we are faced with; especially as student and aspiring writers. How do we take an angle and make it so that people care about what we write about even though tis been done before? How do we find that different angle that makes our story the one to read and still teach something new? I am still struggling to answer these questions for myself. I think Powers shows that more research is a way to go about finding a new angle in a story. Go back to the beginning and find out what happened that not many people know about, and open that topic up and take it apart piece by piece.

A second part that I found interesting, and IMPORTANT, is on page 283. " Handing the story over to my characters was key. A writer should develop a strong voice, but not one that rises to such a pitch that is distracts readers." I think this is the most important information we can learn as prospective writers. If you are going to write about yourself, that is fine and dandy. But when you are telling a story about someone and they are giving their time to tell you about it. Guess who I don't want to hear in the story? You the author. Lately at the station the producers have been hounding the reporters to "do a stand up in the field" or "put yourself into the story". But I have to ask myself...why? What do I add other than another face? I am literally just saying information I have either learned through research or something the people I am writing about have told me. Why not just let them tell it? It happened to them.

2 Comments

I think that often times when the reporter's voice is heard too much it is a result of not doing enough reporting. If you have talked to enough people it is easy to let them tell the story for you.

I agree 100% on the comment you made about voice. When writing a story about ourselves, obviously our voices will be heard, but I have read many stories where all I hear is the writer and they don't let their sources tell their stories. Its distracting and it turned me off from reading the story. Also, I think as a journalist our challenge is always to find another angle of a story and to figure out if it can be retold even better. This can be challenging, but I think the best route is to always let your sources tell you their story

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This page contains a single entry by crece004 published on April 20, 2010 1:41 PM.

Definitely more useful than "Getting to Yes" was the previous entry in this blog.

Turned off: the story of Mark reading these articles is the next entry in this blog.

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