Long-Form Writing

When I write an article (or a news story for TV), I always “write short”: fewer words than I should have for the story. Stephen King claims he has “diarrhea of the typewriter,” where he can’t stop writing. I prefer Mark Twain’s suggestion to “eschew excess verbiage,” and I get to the point. Just say what needs to be said to get the point across, and then you’re done.

Maybe my real passion is in the research, talking to people about what they’re doing and who they are, and learning facts and figures. Then I come back to the computer and explain it to my readers, in as efficient a way as possible. Journalism isn’t the same thing as fiction writing. Telling a made-up story, you… make it up, adding things as they seem appropriate. Telling someone else’s story is taking what they say and making sure it’s understandable to the general public. Surely there is a happy medium between the two, spending more words supporting what the subject of a story is talking about. That’s the next thing for me to work on.

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