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Tag Archives: Roy Peter Clark

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 [...]

Best of Storyboard 2013 — reader favorites

We’ve configured this year’s Best of Storyboard roundup by category* this year, as opposed to ranking them by readership, though we’ll say that in terms of pageviews the Gay Talese/Elon Green annotation of “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” walloped every other read in the history of Storyboard, by far. Check back next week for our [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 77: Danny and the carjackers

One of the most riveting stories to emerge from the Boston Marathon bombing coverage was the Boston Globe piece, by Eric Moskowitz, about “Danny,” the young Chinese entrepreneur who spent more than an hour with the bombers in his carjacked Mercedes, trying to figure out how to escape. The story was relatively short, at 2,183 [...]

Building your canon: Small-scale narrative

Narrative isn’t synonymous with long-form work. A narrative journalist doesn’t need thousands of words or loads of reporting and writing time to tell a memorable story. For you hunter-gatherers of short-form models, consider: W.C. Heinz’s “Death of a Racehorse.” At 963 words, it is one of the most glorious short narratives ever written. A glimpse: [...]

“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 [...]

What we’re following: truthiness in narrative

It’s been a volatile few months for ethics in storytelling, what with the unprecedented “This American Life” retraction of monologist Mike Daisey’s Apple story, and with the unfurled furor over John D’Agata’s anti-accuracy screed in The Lifespan of a Fact. Of all the reactions to the Daisey fiasco, a couple stood out. Steve Myers and [...]

Narrative journalism around the world: Argentina, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands

America tends to get credit for adding narrative journalism to the literary canon. And there’s no doubt that the combination of timely reporting and timeless writing took on new and exciting forms in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century. But that movement grew out of more than a thousand years of narrative [...]

Death, truth and memoir: the debate over Joyce Carol Oates’ “A Widow’s Story”

What is it that we really want from memoir? The kerfuffle this week over “A Widow’s Story,” a narrative from Joyce Carol Oates about the loss of her husband and their many years together brings this question front and center again. Oates was married to Raymond J. Smith for nearly five decades; in addition to [...]

What we’re reading: the long arc of reporting on Scientology, a different kind of drug war, and a new narrative collaboration

The long-form buzz this last week has been all about Lawrence Wright’s piece on Scientology for the New Yorker, “The Apostate.” It’s ostensibly a profile, but it’s also investigative journalism and a compelling narrative. Wright’s deft storytelling was recently addressed on this site by Roy Peter Clark, who looked at a passage from “The Looming Tower,” [...]

Keeping it real: how round characters grow from the seeds of detail

When I first read the New Journalism manifestos by Tom Wolfe in the late 1970s, they changed forever my vision of narrative. In spite of my Ph.D. in English, I realized for the first time that a narrative had parts and that each part lent to a story a power of its own. I began [...]