"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Telling Detail

Check out this brief but insightful interview with Wright Thompson over at the Bleacher Report. In it, Thompson talks about the importance of scenes in non fiction writing:

Use the right scenes

A bad scene is often worse than no scene. And I understand the difficulty of dealing with no access. I know that I have the luxury now of passing on stories if the access won’t give me the tools I need to hit a home run. I get that isn’t indicative of the real world, or the job I had to do at the K.C. Star.

But still, be aware of this. Deal with it as best as you can while dealing with the realities of the modern sports media relations machine.

Here’s a test: If you have to do verbal gymnastics to get from the scene to the story that comes after, you need a new scene. I’ve done it more times than I care to remember: scene, then bizarre twisted sentence or two to get me back on track. Take it from someone who’s made that mistake: don’t.

Understand how the scenes fit together

Sometimes a great scene doesn’t work. I recently wrote a story about cricket and couldn’t use perhaps the funniest thing I observed because it took away from the arc. It was a great scene for some story … just not this one.

Try to remember that. The story is more important than any individual part.

The story is the thing, the story is the thing, the story is the thing.


1 Shaun P.   ~  May 4, 2011 10:19 am

[0] What is, Why do you never bury the lede?

On a tangential note, King Kaufman may be the best thing that ever happened to The Bleacher Report.

2 Alex Belth   ~  May 4, 2011 10:47 am

I don't go over to the Bleacher Report but I've heard it is hack central. King K is a good dude. I'm sure he's making it a better place.

3 boslaw   ~  May 4, 2011 11:00 am

I love the new site and new look - I find it calming and a start contrast to the previous chaotic looking site, but I have 2 observations:

1. while the pictures on the splash page are very nice, it's very hard to tell what the post will be about based on the pictures alone. Many of the pics used on this site evoke emotions but don't convey the story without having the context of the story. That makes it difficult to figure out where to go when you arrive at the site and the biggest thing you see is those large pics, slowly rotating. This site is about the posts and stories, but the stories themselves seem to have tiny second billing (the post titles have very tiny type on the splash page).

2. The recent posts sidebar has everything listed in sequential order, but since you seem to be moving to more of a categorized, topic based site, would it make more sense to list the recent topics in each category, by category, rather than all categories jumbled together by post time? If I only want to see posts about the Yankees, or only Taster's Cherce, it seems difficult to find just those posts in order.

So. . .

-- New York Minute
-- Apple Sauce

-- Nuthin’ Doin’
-- Take Em To The Cleaners


4 Alex Belth   ~  May 4, 2011 11:05 am

3) Interesting comments, man. Thanks so much. We'll take this into consideration for sure!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver