Better late than never? Right?
As usual, Telling True Stories proved to be an illuminating read. There were a lot of little "a-ha" moments interspersed throughout the text that were unique to their authors. But, I noticed one common theme popping up: the use of cinematic metaphors to describe good nonfiction writing. Whether explicit (like Ephron's "What Journalists Can Learn from Screenwriters") or using a phrase like "he also pulls the camera back, away from the tight shots of the road grader," they seem to permeate the discourse on narrative journalism.
Of course, this makes sense in the context of 20th- and 21st-century literature, as Adam Hochschild shows in his contrast between Middlemarch and The Great Gastby. Literature has become rooted in concrete images rather than reflection. This forces me to ask myself some unpleasant questions: do I focus too much on reflection? Is this what's bogging down my profile?
I tend to mix reflection and scene pretty evenly, which is great for personal essays but maybe not the best idea for writing journalism. Point taken: I need to focus more on scene and allow my journalistic endeavors to become more cinematic while maintaining some of my trademark reflection.
I was amazed at the way Hochschild rendered his scene in the printer's
shop so artfully and vividly despite the seemingly-small amount of
information available. Also, Louise Kiernan's paragraph about broken glass that required two professors and an expert speaks to the depth of research that is necessary for effective reporting. Clearly, I need to step up my research game as well.
Once again, sorry this is so late.