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.