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Tag Archives: Ben Montgomery

Want to write great narrative? Study screenwriting.

“That’s all fine,’’ the L.A. film executive said briskly, “but who’s the antagonist?’’ Cut to: Me, author of a soon-to-be published biography of the 1940s/’50s wrestler and pop culture figure who called himself Gorgeous George. I’m on the phone with the woman in charge of selling HarperCollins books to the movies. Time: 2008 or so. [...]

Writing the book: Ben Montgomery on Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

One night in January 2013, deep into the writing of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, I found myself alone at the keyboard, crying. Weeping, really. Thinking back, the storm of depression and anxiety that made me bawl that night was brought on by a mess of psychological pinpricks I’m just not used to: the remorse of a [...]

Best of Narrative, 2013

For our second annual Best of Narrative roundup, our selectors reported an anguishing task: so many great pieces, so few berths. Enjoy these top picks from 2013. And Happy New Year! AUDIO Guest editor: Julia Barton, the story and social media editor for The Life of the Law, is a correspondent for PRI’s The World [...]

Top 10 Top 10 Lists — storytelling edition

Because why not a list of lists? Ten* worth the storyteller’s time: 1) “130 years of must-read stories for digital journalists: five lessons from 1851-1981,” by Abraham Hyatt, editor of the data-driven investigative project Oakland Police Beat. His top three (we agree, so much, with Ben Hecht’s “The Pig”): 1: You can report on technology [...]

Prize storytelling: The 2013 Pulitzers

At some point, we’ll round up some of the better deadline storytelling from the past two weeks’ historic news out of Boston and Texas and Washington, D.C., and Mississippi and Cambridge and Watertown, but let’s end the week on a positive note, by remembering the great work of this year’s recently announced Pulitzer winner and finalists. In the features category, John Branch of the [...]

Editors’ Roundtable: Two boys, a basketball and a ‘magical’ shot

The Oregonian’s Anna Griffin wrote a story last Sunday about a small but rare and memorable moment in high school sports. Deadspin set it up this way: A young man named Davan Overton in unincorporated Oregon plays on his high school basketball team despite a tumor on his spine that has, since he was a toddler, hampered [...]

Reporting and writing “Never Let Go” — inside Kelley Benham French’s remarkable series

Kelley Benham French’s “Never Let Go,” about the extremely premature birth of her daughter, Juniper, was included in Storyboard’s Best of Narrative list for 2012, and our final Notable Narrative of the year. The five-part series ran last month in the Tampa Bay Times. French’s colleague and close friend Ben Montgomery spoke with her recently about the story. [...]

“The Power of Storytelling,” Part 4: Chris Jones on why stories matter, Pat Walters on endings, Walt Harrington on integrity

In Part 3 of our recap of Romania’s “Power of Storytelling” conference on narrative journalism, radio producer Starlee Kine talked about story forms and themes; Esquire‘s Mike Sager talked about listening, and about suspending disbelief; and Pulitzer winner Alex Tizon talked about writing one’s own story. In Part 2, Pulitzer winner Jacqui Banaszynski wrote a short essay about why she and eight other North American [...]

Michael Kruse and the woman who disappeared in her own home

In July 2011, Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) wrote a haunting story about the “disappearance” and death of a woman named Kathryn Norris. He did it partly by dumpster-diving for personal details about her isolated life and debilitating mental illness, and by writing with restraint rather than melodrama or obvious [...]

Jeanne Marie Laskas and Thomas Lake on sportswriting, voice, source love and more (Mayborn 2012, vol. 1)

If you were following the activities out of Grapevine, Texas, last weekend you might’ve seen tweets like this one: And this one: And these: Peter Simek of D magazine recapped this year’s Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference this way: The after-hours antics at the Mayborn are not surprising. Writers are, stereotypically, cocksure, socially starved, self-destructive sorts; booze ignites egos [...]