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Sunday, September 30, 2007

C Is for Color

For a while, I've been sorting out what the ABC's of narrative nonfiction might be. Two reasons for this: Lately I've been writing abecederian poems (the first line begins with A, the second with B, and so on), and, in a classic case of running before I can walk, I think the collection of content organized along these lines would make an excellent book.

A few letters of the alphabet are hard to think of anything for, and several letters offer so many options that it's hard to choose among them. (Or do I have to choose? A "Dictionary of Narrative Nonfiction" would let me include several entries under a letter. )

Here's my initial thinking:

A - Arc, Attitude
B - Book vs. article
C - Craft / Color (setting) / Contract with reader
D - Dialogue
E - Exposition / Exploration / Endings / Editing
F - Frame / Fear / Fiction
G - "Going Long"
H - History / Help
I - Information / Immersion / Interviews
J - Writer's Journal / Judgment / Jokes--structure of
K - Knots / Knowing
L - Language
M - Meaning / Memoir
N - News Hooks / No-nos /Notebooks
O - Organizing
P - Poetry / Permission
Q - Quiet (as in, contemplation)
R - Reading / Resolution / Research
S - Scene / "So What?" / Shape /
T - Truth / Theme / Tangents / Transcribing / Time
U - Understatement / Universal
V - Viewpoint
W - Writing
X - Extraordinary
vs. ordinary (subjects to write about)
Y - Yielding (When to)
Z - "Zeroing in on" / Zapped (the project goes belly-up)

Any ideas or suggestions?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Narratives Close to Home

Casey Foundation Center for Children and Families sponsoring a workshop that gives you a good reason to visit D.C. in the fall, which is a great time to come. Here's the press release from the organization's website (Note for those of us who obsess about style details: I've decided to make it house style to go with "website" rather than "Web site." I've resisted long enough.)

“Reporting From the Home Front:

Families, Work and Money”

Monday, Nov. 12

National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

This workshop is made possible with support from the Freddie Mac Foundation.

Credit crunches and housing-market strains, layoffs and work-life stress. How are working parents managing it all? How do their children cope in uncertain times? What issues matter most for families and vulnerable communities in the coming elections?

This full-day workshop will help you uncover trends and new story ideas on topics that hit home. Boost critical reporting skills with sessions on data gathering and multimedia storytelling. Leave with an expansive source list, strong pitches and inspiration. In early 2008, fellows will have the opportunity to participate in a news-driven Webinar on a topic chosen by the class.

The workshop is open to 25 print, broadcast and online journalists, with priority given to those in the mid-Atlantic region. Competitive fellowships cover materials, meals and participation in a post-conference Webinar. Travel subsidies may be available.

Applications must be received by Monday, Oct. 15. Send your resume, two clips and a brief statement of how you – and your newsroom – will benefit from this fellowship. E-mail materials to fellowships@cjc.umd.edu, or send to our mailing address:

Journalism Center on Children and Families

4321 Hartwick Road, Suite 320
College Park, MD 20740

Questions? Call 301-699-5133.

category: resources


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Merrily We Roll Along . . .

Time keeps going, regardless of whether we get going. Here's a quote that buoys up those of us whose keep chipping away toward our goals and dreams, even if we will never get any huge chunks of time.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
--Edmund Burke, statesman and writer

category: inspiration