Section five is titled ‘Building Quality into the World.’ Before delving into the actual content of this book, I would like to comment on the field of journalism. Before now, I had always seen the world of writing as very ambiguous and open-ended. I now know that that only applies to the creativity side of things. In my last journalism-themed post, I discussed how I am terrible with structure. I now see that structure is essential for a field to work. There is a set of rules that must be followed, but the craft itself can be creative.
The section I read dealt with character. Jon Franklin‘s brief essay, aptly titled ‘Character,’ is placed first in this section for a reason — it is the best. **Note: That is just my personal opinion, and not stated anywhere in the book. ** Franklin’s first gem says “The most powerful thing literature can do is move people to suspend belief: Readers forget that they are on the train or at the doctor’s office or babysitting, and enter the story.” Truer words about writing have never been spoken. That is what makes a story so captivating, so interesting. Getting lost in a story is a marvelous feeling, but I take for granted how difficult they are to create.
Franklin also gives excellent advice on how to structure a character-based story, but I will not bore you with discussion of anecdote placement.
Frequently mentioned in this section is the power that sentences can have. Short sentences speed up the action; long ones slow it down. The idea of a voice being a guide through the story is very interesting to me, as I am a auditory learner. I love reading things out loud. I will often read a part of a story or article out loud to whomever I am with, despite its relevance. An interesting exercise described in this post is to try to imitate somebody else’s style. In doing so, the power of words and certain mechanisms is supposed to leap out at you and help you hone your own voice.
I have never had difficulty injecting voice into my stories. Going back to the third grade writing tests us public school kids were subjected to, I always received high marks on my voice. However, I have trouble making it seem more professional and versatile. It is difficult to critique one’s own voice. It’s like asking a person to listen to a recording of their actual voice. Nobody likes doing it.
I hope these ramblings have provided you some insight into my mind.
- I should never be an architect (amandabrandt.wordpress.com)
- Recognizing Passive Voice (dailypost.wordpress.com)