Friday, November 23, 2007

I wonder if ...

Check out this piece by a Florida Times-Union columnist. It's a tongue-in-cheek column about what a "lifestyle" column by Larry King would be like. (You certainly don't have to read very much of it to get the point).

But it got me wondering ... I wonder if the columnist was doing a profile of King, could the story have been written like King writes his columns (annoying as that is)? And that got me wondering, if you were profiling anyone who had a strong or specific style of writing or speaking, could you write the profile in that way, as a way of having your reader learn about the person you're writing about?

When I worked at the Roanoke Times in Virginia I got to know a Va. Tech football booster named Dave 'Mudcat' Saunders, or just 'Mud' (and for trivia-minded football fans, he would give you his phone number as '989-Bruce Smith/Bruce Smith). Anyway, Mud was a real estate developer who talked loud, all the time. A features reporter did a profile on him and when it came out, all of his dialogue was all uppercase throughout the story.

It made me laugh. That was Mud; she'd captured a distinctive part of his personality.

Just got me wondering about next time one of you is doing a profile, look for something distinctive about the person's style and consider how, in the story, you can bring that out.