Notable Narratives

Reflections on classic stories that endure through time, or on new narratives that expand the possibilities of story work.

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Suddenly It Was Up to Shane

By Notable Narratives March 31, 2006

Padilla set out to follow the recovery of Jeff May, one of the victims of the Red Lake school shootings — but found little narrative there. So Padilla and his editor, Laurie Hertzel, shifted the focus to Jeff’s brother, Shane, … Read more

Violent Femmes

By Notable Narratives March 31, 2006

In this first-person piece, we liked the wealth of dialogue, rich scenes, vivid characters and satisfying narrative arc. Darr uses a familiar structure: She starts the piece with the moment just before the climax of the narrative, then goes back … Read more

Plagued by Fear

By Notable Narratives March 29, 2006

This 7-part series’ strengths, it seems to us, are first, its ability to keep readers wondering, its handling of suspense. (Notice the suspenseful section endings in particular.) Second, the series persuasively links a particular narrative to larger social themes. One … Read more

In Balraj’s Realm

By Notable Narratives March 24, 2006

We admire this piece for the way its tone and content match its protagonist’s own qualities. Elizabeth Balraj is the exacting and dignified coroner of Cuyahoga County. Long’s writing, too, is precise and composed. We like the considered attention to … Read more

The Boy Monk

By Notable Narratives March 21, 2006

This series was written and reported by Anh Do and Teri Sforza. We admired the masterful blend of emotional material—the boy’s and his family’s experience of separation, loss—with engaging explications of Buddhist traditions and belief. The piece also rightly emphasizes … Read more

Global Mixology at Hyannis Club

By Notable Narratives March 10, 2006

We liked this piece because it’s well written—good verbs, vivid scenes—and because it applies narrative to a complicated sociological subject: the internationalization of a formerly fairly homogeneous community. LaForgia gets at that dynamic by portraying the life of a single … Read more

The Hard Road

By Notable Narratives March 5, 2006

Two children were killed and two injured in a hit-and-run accident. This series tells, in long form, the story of two women—the mother of the children and the young woman who hit them—and the defense lawyer who took the case … Read more

Enrique’s Journey

By Notable Narratives February 21, 2006

Nazario’s reporting for this series was remarkable. She followed Enrique for part of his journey—from the U.S.-Mexican border to North Carolina—and reconstructed the rest. As part of her research into his experience, she rode seven freight trains, hitched a ride … Read more

Smoking ’em Out

By Notable Narratives February 19, 2006

Mark Kramer cautions his students against writing “How I Got the Story” stories. A particularly amateurish version of such a story might begin: “I felt nervous as I walked into Jane Doe’s elegant office. I knew she was one of … Read more

The $40 Lawyer

By Notable Narratives February 19, 2006

This is a real story, structurally speaking: The main character’s problem is clear from the outset, and we are engaged by the central question of whether he will succeed. Secondary dramatic threads—the missing mother, the dissatisfied girlfriend—enrich the narrative and … Read more