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Their Eyes Are Wide Open

By Notable Narratives June 21, 2005

This piece takes on the theme of idealism; the two others in the paper’s series (of which we are aware) took on themes of optimism and fear. These latter pieces address their themes head-on, as in “Now I’m going write … Read more

A Journey to Water’s Edge

By Notable Narratives June 21, 2005

We admired the efficient, effective structuring of the reader’s experience, the muscular approach to an unusual narrative. And we think the writing even does Raymond Carver justice. Read “A Journey to the Water’s Edge,” by Thomas Lake … Read more

Crossing Over

By Notable Narratives June 8, 2005

This piece is built around an extraordinary character, an extraordinary setting—Gee’s Bend, Ala.—and tells an extraordinary history. Moehringer’s voice does the subject justice: The voice is at once eloquent and plain, like the language of his protagonist, Mary Lee. The … Read more

Thy Kingdom Come

By Notable Narratives June 6, 2005

This is a finely reconstructed account of a charismatic leader who moved into a town and changed nearly everything about it. We like Lewan’s opening paragraphs: His language suggests legend or origin myth—the tribal elder saying, “Have a seat, young … Read more

Andy’s Last Secret

By Notable Narratives June 3, 2005

This series got a lot of attention: The Plain Dealer’s Web traffic increased dramatically during the week of its publication, says Stuart Warner, an editor and writing coach at the paper. Warner believes that thousands of young people were drawn … Read more

14 Tips for Building Character

By Story Craft June 1, 2005

This essay is adapted from Rick Meyer’s notes for a talk at the 2005 Nieman Narrative Editors’ Seminar. Rick’s presentation was paired with Laurie Hertzel’s talk on scenes. We probably ought to declare something right away, so no one … Read more

Mower Power to Him

By Notable Narratives May 26, 2005

Benham strikes the right tone in this piece—friendly and a touch ironic. The piece is punctuated by creative passages and playful quips. But there’s substance here, too: The playfulness is supported by the concrete details of her reporting. We like, … Read more

Up From the Holler

By Notable Narratives May 26, 2005

This is a wonderfully consistent profile, with thorough and effective characterization. Lewin provides telling details that stick to a theme, and yet the portrayal is not simplistic. Her material is particular and intimate. We liked, for example, the protagonist Della … Read more