Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Final Process Writing

This is going to be a jumbled mess of words.

Writing the pieces for this class has taught me a lot about what kinds of stories I like to cover.  I chose to do a profile piece for my final assignment in part because I've discovered I really enjoy learning about people.  I like doing pieces where I can spend several hours with a subject and follow them around while they work.  I want to hear people's stories.  My struggles come when I have to write biased pieces about said people.  I tend to enjoy my time with interview subjects, so I think sometimes my pieces are too positive.  The irony of this is that I get annoyed when reading other people's pieces that have no depth like this.  So that's a thing I realized I need to work on as I continue my journalism career.  

The personal essay was also an interesting practice in new writing for me.  I don't write about myself, especially not for other people's reading.  I struggled with trying to make sure the piece focused on me instead of my peers, who were a big part of the story I tried to tell.  I think telling a story about myself helped me to learn about telling other people's stories.  I had to dig deep to figure out how to express all that I wanted to express, and that made me realize the depth I should strive to achieve when I talk to other people, so that I can tell their stories as well as possible.

Workshop was great.  I love constructive criticism.  It is my greatest tool for improving my work, and I prefer it when it is not sugar coated.  Readers gave me great input on my pieces.  Lots of times I would put in elements confusing to someone who hadn't been there, and feedback there was invaluable in improving my pieces.  The hardest part of workshopping was sorting through comments and choosing which ones to address.  Lots of times comments could have pulled my piece in a number of different directions, so this really just came down to where I wanted the piece to go.  I usually had an angle in mind, so I looked at comments that applied to the angle.  Sometimes I put more value on comments from people whose writing style I prefer, which is maybe not the best way to go about things, but I always considered all of the feedback.  Sometimes it didn't matter because everyone gave useful feedback that pointed me in one direction.

I think this course mostly taught me how to get more depth out of a piece.  In doing interviews for The Index and writing shorter pieces, I didn't always get the chance to really know my subjects.  Sometimes I still don't, but I've tried harder to have more meaningful and longer interviews with people who know about a topic.  Also I've learned about organization for long pieces.  I'm used to defaulting to inverted pyramid for stories, but in doing features stuff I've had fun learning how to weave back and forth between topics and information in ways that keep the reader interested about a topic.

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