Saturday, October 28, 2006

Theory and Practice

Yesterday I was writing about the new magazine Jaz to which I am also contributing articles. I mentioned how the magazine helps me realize my passions: writing and reading good stories. This sounded so conceited. And I only realized how conceited it really was when I reread my story today. It is far from being good. The rhythm is bad, the sentences are awkward, and I keep repeating the word "story".
I should have followed the single most important advice for good writing: Read your story out loud. Had I done that, I would have probably noticed all this. It is not an excuse, but I was running out of time as the story had to be written on a tight deadlline. Now I know I need to learn from this experience. Journalistic writing, especially the one for magazines, takes time: a journalist needs to manage his/her time so that he has it enough to report, write and rewrite the article.

An excellent essay on stories in magazines has been published here.

After writing this post I checked the blogs in my blogroll. I liked what Borut Peterlin wrote in his post about the Romas in Slovenia. I keep wondering how often do journalist go with the flow and when do they decide to look the other way. Going with the flow is the easiest thing to do. Looking up on an event from a different perspective takes courage. Especially when you are yourself full of prejudice.
I was looking for an article by a reporter who was struggling with his prejudices while covering a story, but I couldn't find it. I remember it has been published in CJR and it really made me think. Instead I found this one. I particularly liked the last couple of paragraphs.


Xiaoqing said...

come on, you are too picky on yourself. I'm sure you've written a very good story. Out of curiosity, what language do you use most when writing? English or Slovenian? Also, I'm thinking of a book about an Englishman's perspective on America. It was an old book. I didn't have the chance to finish it when I borrowed it from you 4,5 years ago. Do you still remember the name of the book?

Sonja said...

@xiaoqing: I think you meand How to Scrape Skies by George Mikes. YOu didn't finish it? Than it probably was not that funny ...:)

Xiaoqing said...

Thanks! I found it in the library and will borrow it soon...