I like this chapter a lot because it helped me to understand feature stories more.
What I liked about features is that "immediacy of the event is secondary...[and] descending news values are replaced by human interest, mood, atmosphere, emotion, irony and humor." It's informative and entertaining.
I liked what was written in this chapter: "[Features] illuminate events, offer perspective, explanation and interpretation, record trends and tell people about people...strong feature writing is simple, clear, orderly and free of labored mannerisms and tricks that call attention to the writing itself rather than the substance" (95).
From this chapter, I learned the importance of "particulars/details" as evidence of your 'lead' (what your feature is all about).
Chapter 11 (Features) revealed some points that I never considered such as going beyond "the reservation of the immediate subject" (100).
The tips on the same page by Hugh Mulligan are insightful. According to him, writing down emotions, observations and passing thoughts on how he felt as a witness (visually or hearing) helped with his feature articles. "I take notes on everything I hear and see and smell and think or moon about," he said.
On page 101, I definitely agree with this statement: "Creativity is not the product of freedom, but the product of the conflict between freedom and discipline."
A great example of this in the "real world" is the recent lack of response in this year's Eye Contact submissions. In the past, the editors have reported complaints from submitters that the themed issues (comedy, tragedy, truth, and consequence) restricted their creativity (yet we had huge response). This semester, we didn't have a set theme, "anything goes" (others argued that this was sort of the theme). To our surprise and disappointment, we didn't receive many submissions. We're not extending deadlines but individually we are approaching people to submit.
***Philosophical sidenote: I think it's just in the human will to resist, and if there's no challenge, then there's no meaning in life.
The tips on writing peer profiles on page 103 would have been helpful when I wrote my peer profile in the beginning of the year. Looking for characteristics, habits, traits, working methods, individual experiences, anecdotes and quotes relate to the success and integration of nit wit details with the bigger theme.
Also focusing on the subject not overlooking. "The value of steering people in interviews to subjects with which they have real affinity and thorough familiarity is often overlooked." I thought it was funny that the author called celebrities being interviewed "animated cliches" (104).
Closing quotes that summarzed feature writing: "Feature writers, like novelists, have many literary devices to engage readers emotionally, and that's their privilege...it does mean that feature writers, as honest reporters, recognize that life is multi-dimensional...[features] are free of mannerisms, verbal flourishes, stylistic tricks and literary tinsel...[they] demonstrate an unassailable truth: Good feature writing proceeds from good reporting" (105-106).Posted by Michael Diezmos at October 21, 2005 2:47 PM