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Why We Should Care: Writing Well about Endangered Kids

By Story Craft June 7, 2006

Many—surprisingly, perhaps most—of the stories we read for this site are about, or involve, children we worry about: They're alone, ill, miseducated, lost in the system, abandoned or abused. Mark Kramer calls such pieces "endangered children" stories. They're attractive to newspaper writers because children are of universal concern to the community. Portray a child in a fix and everyone cares. But precisely because the dilemmas of children are emotionally fraught, writers run the risk of veering into mawkishness—a tack that's too easy and that often evades the social complications at the heart of any story. We asked Barry Siegel, director of the literary journalism program at UC Irvine, to offer some advice. Read more

The Persuasive Narrator

By Story Craft May 23, 2006

We call lots of things “stories” in American journalism, but very few of them are true narrative storytelling. Most journalistic accounts are reports, whose primary purpose is to pass along information to readers. Reports require certain writing strategies to help readers … Read more

Stories Are Everywhere

By Story Craft May 23, 2006

There are stories everywhere. Any idea could probably be a story if you had enough time and stamina, but I try to expedite the process a bit. I read whatever I can: lots and lots of newspapers, magazines, literary journals … Read more

Married to the Military

By Notable Narratives May 12, 2006

This is a thorough and nuanced examination of the war’s impact on American lives. The story of the main character, Jeannette Mulligan, the wife of a soldier, provides an overarching narrative thread as the story moves from chapter to chapter. Read more

Dear World

By Notable Narratives May 9, 2006

Viser writes about a young man, Zack Weinstein, who has “started an unusual process: healing by blog.” Weinstein writes about his experiences on his blog following a spinal injury that paralyzed him from the chest down. Viser alternates excerpts from … Read more