Reading Don Fry’s book “Writing your Way”, while writing the last feature piece was really useful to put all theories in practice in real time. Now, to digest more, I asked myself about my strong areas and weak areas.
Always the first chapters in any writing book are about the ideas, then the interviews. These are in my strong realm, I never run out of ideas nor people.
My real problems start when I start transcribing the interviews and writing the first draft. In Don Fry, he simplified the process to write in blocks, and to add the golden coins. The golden coins can be illustrated as pictures or strong quotes to keep the reader hooked and to push the story forward.
Moreover, I face the problem of how to end the story so the reader can remember it. Fry said that the ending is like a nice frame, that if cut, the story can still stand by itself.
Blundell’s book “The art and craft of feature writing”, answered these two weak points in six part step-by-step guide over two stages. The six parts are: History, scope, reasons, impacts, countermoves, and futures. The two stages are: planning and execution, and organization.
In the planning and execution stage, the step-by-step guide for the six blocks are listed in the book as specific questions for each part. As a summary, it is as follows:
- History: has the main theme roots in the past?
- Scope: any statistics, and numbers.
- Reasons: is there money or personal motives behind the events?
- Impacts: who is hurt? And how hard is his hurt? (It reminds me of the quote: what bleeds leads)
- Countermoves: who is defending? Who is winning in the story contrary forces?
- Futures: opinions of the observers.
In the organization stage, Blundell said that the only way is to index the facts and the interviews according to the 6-blocks mentioned above. He decomposed any feature story to the following stages:
One: Tease me, you devil.
Two: Tell me what you’re up to.
Three: Oh yeah?
Four: I’ll buy it. Help me remember it.
Hmm…this quote is quite true: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”