Saturday, November 18, 2006

On making narrative short -- and sweet

Diane Tennant believes bringing a story together with lots of notes requires the same mental capacities as completing a jigsaw puzzle. No, that doesn’t mean that she’ll break out the typical 500-piece wolves-in-the-forest joint, right?

Well, not so fast.

Trying to do a puzzle is just one alternative approach that Tennant takes to her narrative writing. She’s a writer on The Virginian-Pilot’s Sunday Spotlight narrative team.

Offers Tennant:

Don’t be afraid to write something new and strange.

Using “she said” or “he explained” too much? Try alternative attribution.

When covering a popular event, look for what the other media is going to miss.

Use your strongest material.

Always amuse yourself.

Folks here comfortably sit on the floor at the well-attended programs, giving the conference a warm lounge-like feel. I’ve got notes coming my way, so if readers want more tips from Tennant, I’ll be happy to pass them along.

However, there’s a two hour break now and I have a cheeseburger somewhere with my name it. I’ll be at a session called Making Your Story Sing with Phoebe Claggett and Dick Weiss beginning at 8 p.m.

Posted by Darren Sands at 7:02 PM | link

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