Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marion Winik's visit

Couple things struck me:

She kept talking about "voicey" stories, for example, when Joan asked about columns vs. news stories. Reminded me that it's all about picking or recognizing the right story to write a certain way. Some stories can be told funny, some have to be told seriously; some can be told as conflict-resolution, some won't fit that model; some stories can take a little attitude in the writing, some shouldn't. Part of what we've been doing this year is talking about ways of writing stories that we have at our disposal so we can make those decisions.

Someone asked about her hyper-awareness of things around her that allows her to gather the details that appear in her essays. She said it wasn't that she was aware of everything, but that she was aware of certain things -- such as 'story,' i.e., the narrative of what's happening around her, the what happened next part.

And she works on perfecting that ... and you can see how it shows up in her stories. Think of two she read about people who died -- the maid and the soldier. Both stories built up to either an unexpected ending or an ending with a twist that you may or may not have seen coming.

As she said in a somewhat untethered comment: you can learn what the thing is that your mind is really greedy for, and tune in to that thing. Basically ... know yourself, and what you do well, and use that to your advantage as a reporter and writer.

Any other thoughts on Marion's visit?