Writing for the converted

There was an article I did a while ago that was supposedly about a controversial issue, but the readership weren’t blank canvases where I could convert their hearts with my writing. They knew where they stood on the issue, either way way or the other. The editor seemed to put an angle on the piece, as my submitted piece differed slightly to the published one in the places where it mattered. Even so, the readers were already converted, this way or that.

Turning the paragraphs around

This week I’ve been turning paragraphs around in terms of their arrangement within the paragraph. But what about swapping two paragraphs around, so that the bottom paragraph goes at the top and the top paragraph goes to the bottom.

As there are only two paragraphs in this piece this isn’t a case of plowing through many paragraphs to see if swapping top to bottom wouldn’t make cohesive sense.

Even so I risked the possibility of losing the sense of this two paragraph piece. But it sounded better when I swapped them.

Filmmakers don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story

I was pleasantly surprised to find in the post, one day twenty years ago, a clipping of a published article of mine and a cheque for a certain amount. The following article got published and it’s about film and history. On retrospect, it’s not a thorough article as I could have cited some filmmakers that seem to follow historical fact closely, which would have been the exception, apparently. For my article, it’s about the right to tell a story versus the facts of history. I interviewed three people on the subject and two were producers, one a teacher of history. Here it is as it was published.

Continue reading “Filmmakers don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story”

Things along the way

As I edited a piece, there were various things along the way that needed doing. There were several small points that contributed to the whole piece sounding better: a change of one word, deleting a sentence, addressing coherency, and most of all patience in waiting for the piece, day after day, getting right and potentially publishable.

The hard questions

We need writers who are not afraid to ask the hard questions as this brings balance to the status quo of everything is all right, jack. Hard questions will make one think and contemplate what may be or is actually happening but is rarely or never breached, rather than the idea that everything is going along honky dory.

When an article is from the heart

I had this vivid dream which inspired me to write a devotion and as I was writing the devotion I thought that it sounded just the ticket. It was one that flowed from the heart. But publisher’s requirements meant that it was rejected at stage one of the process. Since it was from the heart, I should never darken the publisher’s halls again and say “stuff it”. But in the end, I will try and tailor a devotion towards that specific publisher. It worked before, it can work again. But perhaps not so much from the heart, or at least the heart-part is simmering underneath, rather than all over the devotion, to suit the publisher’s requirements of course. One gets over it quickly, though.

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It’s not over yet

Some articles I wrote in the past, I used to send off to the editor in a bit of a rush, but these days I know an article (in this case, a devotion) isn’t finished when it seems to be. These days, I will wait another day to see the article with a fresh pair of eyes and see if anything more needs editing. This process may take days until I know that on one reading it sounds just right.

When the article doesn’t need to change

It came as a surprise that one of my articles wrote sometime ago, that I’ve had another look at, didn’t need an edit at all. Don’t editors always edit something out of one’s article? Apparently not. It was one of those times when my submitted article didn’t need changing at all and was published as I sent it. This, no doubt, encouraged me as nothing at all in the article was changed. I guess editors love those days, too.

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The details

A few years ago I got a call saying they wanted a clarification on something I wrote. Of course, one could take this personally–thoughts going through your head, ‘I got it wrong’, ‘I did bad’ etc. But it reminded me to be sure of the details in seemingly clear-cut places.