Freelancing as a narrative writer hasn’t ever been an easy way to earn a living, and recent changes in the magazine industry have made it even tougher… Magazines that depend on subscriptions can no longer compete with those relying on advertising income… While getting started as a freelancer, you must spend as much time pitching stories (and accepting rejection) as you do writing them…
The idea of being a freelancer, seems to be an exciting idea for a journalist to write about what he wants, take the time he needs to report, and move between different new organizations and publications. I always think of a reporter who travels the world and write as much as he wants, whenever I think about a freelancer. I know this is not what happens in reality, but it sounds like a great life to me. However, I believe that for a great journalist to have such a life, they must work hard first, follow the rules and work for a known organization where he can build his career and name.
Jon Franklin is a well-known pioneer in creative nonfiction. His books include: The Molecules of The Mind, Atheneum, (1987); Writing for Story, Atheneum, (1986); Guinea Pig Doctors, (With J. Sutherland) Morrow, (1984); Not Quite a Miracle, (w/ Alan Doelp), Doubleday, (1983); Shocktrauma, (w/ Alan Doelp), St. Martin’s Press, (1980).
“The Most Powerful Thing in Literature Can Do is Move People to Suspend Disbelief: Readers forget that they are on the train or at the doctor’s office or babysitting, and enter the story.”
Lessons Learned: “Character”…
- Narrative writers need to tell readers how a character’s inner world stacks up against outside reality he or she faces.
- If the writer thinks more deeply about character, especially the relationship between plot and character, the story becomes much richer.
- No writer can capture a whole person; they chose just one facet of a person’s life.
- A writer chooses what matters.
- Information that explains motive goes into the piece, everything else stays out.
- The Writer’s goal is to understand how the character looks at the world and understand the character’s responses to events.
Author, professor and a journalist. His books include: Next Wave(2012), The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship, and Family (2004), Intimate Journalism (1997), Slices of Life (2013) and At the Heart of It: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives (1996).
“Details do hold meaning, but sometimes not the sort we expect. Tom Wolfe defined status details as the items around people that define their social circumstances. Such details make the subject’s interior world clearer to us.”
To Begin The Beginning… The HARDEST THING about the beginning is the
The screen stares and the cursor blinks nothingness, taunting me. It says, “Ready, set, go! What are you going to write this time?” “I summon a voice strong enough to say, Sit down and listen to me.“
Source: DeNeen Brown Twitter
“Beginning to read a story should feel like embarking on a journey, starting toward a destination.” “Where would you begin if you were an omniscient narrator?“
“Don’t just tell me what so-and-so said and what so-and-so felt. Tell me what so-and-so meant to say and why she said it, and what had brought her to this point in her life that would make her say it. He meant: Create multidimensional stories and characters.“
“Each one of us has a storytelling voice deep inside. We’ve been listening to stories since we were knee -high, and we know how stories should be told.”
We are trained as journalists to describe action secondhand, through quotes and observation. Skilled narrative writers put the reader there and let her witness it, have the experience, feel it. That’s much more powerful than a secondhand version of reality.
Summary Vs. Dramatic Narratives
* The summary:
- Provides the links between scenes, which are usually written in dramatic narrative.
- Standard news stories are written in summary narrative.
* The Dramatic:
- Is required in true storytelling.
- Traditional journalists, because they have limited experience with dramatic narrative, often have a tough time distinguishing between the two. “
To sum up:
“You’re either in story, or you’re out of story.”
I am enjoying every page of this book. It is rich with its tips and advice, yet in a way that I did not find in other journalism books that I read during my study. With these brilliant and different writers, journalists and authors, I get a pleasant surprise of their ideas and writings in every article.
is a senior editor for enterprise at CNN digital. She is an award- winning writer who got:
- Pulitzer Prize for featuring writing.
- Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing
- ASNE Award for Non-Deadline Writing.
The editor’s questions that she emphasized in her article were useful and informative. However, two main questions drew my attention and interest, as I do not see them being used or implemented in many news organizations nowadays which make some stories half- told. Therefore, the truth is missing.
- What truism is being presented in the news, and does heading in the opposite direction suggest a story?
- Is there an untold background tale?
I remembered the conflict between the East and the West when I read these specific questions. I get the weirdest questions about how the Arabs thinks or feel about the West. Interestingly, all Western media promote certain stereotypes, which people never stop and think about. They just hear them, believe them and then act accordingly.
Following what I read in the articles, there were tips from different authors that reporters must go wherever the story takes them. This is how you know the truth and report it; by going to both sides and asking questions.
When you do not hear the other voice, you must know that this is not the truth and that you are missing something. Therefore, that is what I am aiming for, to go wherever the story takes me and fully report it. Not to allow biases, or to follow trends, gossips and stereotypes. That is what I owe to my profession, my readers and myself.
is an author and a journalist. “He writes about real people by living their own lives,” as he described himself on his blog.
Although it might seem extreme for some journalists, going as far as sending your self to prison might be required to get the truth. Not every reporter would need to do that, but depending on what you are covering, you should go wherever the action is. Get the story from its original sources no matter how long it takes you.