Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elements of Literary Journalism (Work in Progress)

  1. Dramatic scenes = Scene by scene construction. Rather than rely on second-hand accounts and background information, Wolfe considers it necessary for the journalist to witness events first hand, and to recreate them for the reader. 
  2. Specificity of Concrete Detail which is essential to establishing scenes.
  3. g. 38 – Voice of the narrator Dialogue. By recording dialogue as fully as possible, the journalist is not only reporting words, but defining and establishing character, as well as involving the reader.
  4. The third person. Instead of simply reporting the facts, the journalist has to give the reader a real feeling of the events and people involved. One technique for achieving this is to treat the protagonists like characters in a novel. What is their motivation? What are they thinking? Gestures / facial expressions
  5. Details of environment = Status Details. Just as important as the characters and the events, are the surroundings, specifically what people surround themselves with. Wolfe describes these items as the tools for a "social autopsy", so we can see people as they see themselves
  6. Subjective Arrangement of Reported Information to Effect (see Capote's masterful arrangement of scenes) Quote related to this: “The artist sees not so much what is there as what he can make of it.” – Charles Horton Cooley
  7. The Exploration of Inner Experience = Quote related to this: “The facts for the writer of a human interest story lie in the inner experience.” 
  8. Literary journalism is "Expressive"Quote: “A story is said to be expressive when it outlives the moment when it is news. This means expressive of the familiar facts of human nature.”
  9. Careful and Precise Word Selection to literary effect.

1 comment:

David Miller said...

Wow, great post.