Post a brief update on your project here


Please provide a brief update on how your stories are coming and what you expect your story to look like for Tuesday's deadline. In other words, what have you done so far and what do you have left.
I do hope that you'll have the chance to create a well developed draft of these articles so that you will have time to give it a critical revision. That, as we know, is where good writing becomes great writing.


I have my last two interviews with the Commissioner of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the national SAAC member from our conference. I took your advice about making the story more about my experiences from high school to college and how it has changed. I left in most of the informative part of the piece because Bylaw 17 is the issue I am tackling. I will have a finished product on Tuesday. My only struggle I am facing right now is how to end my story. I was thinking about ending it by giving opinion on the issue and what I think the future holds for student-athletes in DII, but I give my opinions throughout the story so I don't know how I should end it. This also turned into a little bit of an investigative piece because I wasn't given the information from just my interviews. I have had to go back into the NCAA archives and documents to figure out the entire process that this bylaw has taken and who voted on what. Alex my editor has given me great feedback and has been very proactive with helping me out with my story.

I have compiled a list of questions, but still need to interview the employees at the bar. I went back recently and found more details I want to include. Also I took more specific notes on the bar's appearance to more accurately describe it.

I'm going to rewrite it once with the new details, then see what I get from the interview and try to work that into the final draft.

I've rewritten the piece considerably from my rough draft as well as gotten more interviews from Lindsay's brothers and herself. I've added more details and tried to make it more of a story rather than a list of facts which would be considerably boring. I still have to go through some of my interviews to add to the final product but am confident that I will have a final draft ready and waiting come Tuesday.

I have been kind of struggling with my story and which angle to take it. I have the interviews of my family , but I need to try and find an outside source that will help it. I am going to try and rewrite my story how you told me to so it won't just be a series of plots but a more flowing substance with more meaning. I got a couple pictures from when we were younger that I am going to put up with the recent pictures on picasa. Otherwise I just need to keep plowing through it to get it done by Tuesday. I am hoping that I will be able to write a good solid draft this weekend so I can edit it and work through it for Tuesday's final draft. I haven't been as happy with how my story has been going, but I am hoping it will turn around.

I have a handful of interviews from bus riders and other drivers. I am working on getting a few more from some people Keith (the driver) mentioned in his interviews. I am really struggling with how to put this all together. You suggested I ride an entire route and make observations, but I'm not sure what to do with those. I am nervous for the Tuesday deadline, seeing as route 18 doesn't run on weekends, it has significantly limited my riding time...

My story took a different turn after I conducted my final interview. I learned that the apparent LIST I had been hearing about for my room mate was very anti say the least. I am now writing about by that angle of the story. How this list is built up to be something huge and really it's not and why they keep it they way it is. This is completely opposite of what I thought my story was going to be, and some how find this more interesting that the first way I thought the story was going to go. I am going to cut back on all the information I gathered while at the clinic and focus more on the attaining the number of the list and the journey it took and what I learned on the way. I hope that makes sense. To me it makes more sense then what I was trying to write before. It has more tension (word drop!)

So like you always say Hatcher my story has changed quite a bit. From a story of the Loui's fire to a possible profile. I have found through a friend of my roomate's, who was actually the one who "started" the french toast challenge at Loui's a few years ago. He ate 6 pieces, the first offical record holder. The challenge now stands at 12 or 13 pieces of french toast, yuck. I have the written part mostly underway, I am in process of finding the guy who has the current record and talk to him, then it should all come together nicely, with a totally different idea then the original, oh well.

For my project, I have 2 really great interviews. I am writing about the phonebook random person project. I found Jill who is a 55 Duluthian whose daughter came out to her just 3 years ago. Her interview as well as her daughters are really intimate and I think rather then taking the obvious angle from the daughter's perspective being the main one, I want to try to make Jill's experience be the overlying one. I still need to interview Bob, Jill's husband and I need to pull some other sources that would add to the story. I am struggling a little bit because profiles are harder for me write, especially about an emotional experience this family has had. I don't want them to feel like I am being invasive. I have confidence that I will figure the structure of the story once all the interviews are done.

I'm still having a hard time getting Keith's parents to talk to me at all. They don't want to "relive the worst experience of their lives and their family's lives over again" and I certainly can't force them to do so. I have gotten some feedback from his father, which is going to go in the story, but that's about as far as I can push him. I'm going to go into more detail when Keith really started to get into some shit from ages 17-20. Legally, some of the cases are still in progress and I can't use the information of those cases, so that kind of sucks but I think I can make do without actual legal documentation and just a brief overview of the case.
Basically as of now I have more details to write in, which I have a lot of and am very confident with. It's discouraging to not be able to talk to people I'd like to, but I have a lot of good information and stuff that I can be using instead. I've talked to his good friend from high school who was with him while this whole mess was starting and that will be helpful in the beginning parts of the story in developing the issue.

I am done with the interviewing process. I just need to rewrite my story. I already added a section telling what I am doing. I just need to add my other interviews in.

I was able to get a lot more information from the Adderall dealer, such as how much he has made since he started school, why he doesn't take it anymore, etc. I thought that stuff was really interesting. I also got more detail into the stories of how people were able to get prescribed. I still need to call St. Mary's and Harbor City Psychological Associates to find out why they were so unbelievably backed up. Using the doctor that gave me a check-up is an option as well, but I don't know how I feel about that. I didn't let him know I was writing a story when I came in...

Which do you want first? The good news or the bad news?

Too bad. I'm gonna say the bad news first.

The bad news is that I have yet to find someone who can teach me the moonwalk. A couple local dance studios have hip hop instructors, but nobody who feels like sharing their very limited expertise on Michael Jackson and Michael Jackson dance. I know a few people who are big into the dance community around here, and have asked if there is anyone they know who can moonwalk well. After all, my story doesn't need a "Dance Instructor," it just needs someone who can teach me the moonwalk. But no luck. It seems that everyone knows what the moonwalk looks like, and dancers say they "can kinda do it," but nobody really can. I have tried to contact the authors of several different YouTube instructional videos, and have not heard back from any of them. So I pretty much have a very solid research paper. Pretty lame narrative though.

The good news: I have a very solid research paper. I have lots of info and some humorous personal accounts of myself practicing the moonwalk with the help of YouTube instructional videos. With just one good source (someone I can quote directly about moonwalk instruction), this story would change from a research paper to a nice narrative piece.

The problem is two things, and they are related. One is that I am doing this project the wrong way. Ideally, you gather information about the world, think about its narrative potential, and then decide to write a story about it. I did things backwards. I picked this topic randomly, before finding out whether or not it makes a good narrative piece. There is a story in everything, BUT there is not necessarily a NARRATIVE story in everything when you have three weeks to write it. That is the second problem - time. Since my original idea was vetoed late in the game, by the time I ran into problems with the second idea, it is too late to do anything but make the best of it.

So I shall. I will have a story for Tuesday, but it won't be my best writing ever. That is a bit disappointing, because that is what my aspirations for this semester were.

Hey John, the link in the email didn't work so it took me awhile to find this entry. Here's where I am...
You were very correct in your notes on my draft regarding what you would like to see versus what time will allow. Unfortunately, I don't see my story being any sort of clever, hard-hitting, in-your-face, piece of gonzo narrative that it would have been fun to write. It is essentially going to be an account of the same 60-year-old story for people who haven't heard it yet. The newsworthiness will be that it is the 20th anniversary of the Duluth-Ohara sister city relationship.
I'm a little pissed at myself for not putting more thought into what I wanted to write about because I could have done a better job and had a better time on something I could have been more engaged in.
I already know that my story will not meet the John Hatcher standard of Journalism. But the good thing about that standard is that because it is so high, you can aim for it, miss, and still have a decent final product. So my hope is that it will meet the standard of some publication somewhere in the region that welcomes cheesy feel-good stories, and you'll have to give me at least a B-.
That's the notion that is "floating my boat" right now.

Update. Update. Well...
I am going to be doing a lot of rewriting in the next few days and just figuring out what should go in the story. That's the hardest thing right now, because I have so much to work with. I'm working on getting a couple more interviews but for unknown reasons people are getting harder to track down. I'm sending the story to my editor today, too, so we should be able to do some good work on it together.
Good luck in Amsterdam!

My story is coming along swimmingly. There aren't any missing pieces as far as sources of information. My story still remains a little bare in the development of what led me to make the decision to come home. In some ways, this is okay with me because in my head it happened so maybe that can happen fast for my reader too. But then again, maybe they just won't understand. I'm not writing this as a self help story for others but I know I'm not writing it solely for myself either. I'm not sure if I can make you care about my experience so I'm just writing it as real as I can. If you find it interesting continue reading, if you don't, I'm okay with that.

I also feel like the ending will be rather abrupt. Time is what has healed me in this situation. I'll try to pass as much time in my story to indicate to my reader how long it took but I don't want to go overboard on details about how I felt this day and then how I felt that day. This might be a bit of a challenge but I think I'm handling it well.

My story is coming along...I've revised my draft since turning it in, and I conducted my last interview with Josh, the student drag performer I shadowed at the drag show, yesterday. I found out more about his personal coming out story and about his relationships with his friends and family. I also had a short interview with the chair person of QASU to find out a little more about the history of the drag shows on campus. I need to add more of Josh's personal account into my story and I need to type up the chapter on the history. I've been struggling with deciding whether or not I want to put myself in the story. So far I have not put myself in it, but I have been wondering what it would be like if I did. I have a lot of revising to do on my draft before Tuesday. I plan on working on it this weekend and getting suggestions from my student editor one last time before turning the final copy in on Tueaday.

I liked the idea of focusing in on a specific "chapter" of the fast-pitch story--that being the imminent demise of the sport and Brett K's role in holding it together. I realized there was waaay too much information for me to sift through otherwise and make a coherent story. My only problem is that many of my interviews were with people older than Brett K and I've had a slightly difficult time reaching many of his contemporaries. Either way, I have a lot of good anecdotes and have started writing a final-rough draft. I don't know how long my story will end up being or what form it will eventually take but the story seems much more doable now that I'll be focusing on one chunk of the bigger picture.

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This page contains a single entry by John Hatcher published on April 21, 2010 10:12 AM.

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