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Writing to set up quotes

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by formulacola, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. formulacola

    formulacola Member

    Lately, I feel like I've gotten into the habit of knowing what quotes I want to use before I start writing a feature, then writing the story around those quotes. I almost feel like I'm just writing to fill from Quote A to Quote B, B to C, etc.

    I'm conscious of this going in, but then after I transcribe and get writing, I get back into the routine and do it again. Does anyone have any tips on breaking this habit?
     
  2. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    One thing you might try is, once you have your research and interviews done, get some of the writing done then transcribe your interviews and plug in the quotes where necessary or where they fit. Try doing it in the reverse of the way you are doing it now.
     
  3. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    What Ty said. I've tried this myself and it works. I fell into the habit you are talking about. Also, I used a different method to shake things up. I wrote a feature I knew wouldn't run for a couple of weeks, without any quotes. Then wrote it with the quotes I had. Finally I took the best from each and put them together. That's the article that ran. Depending on how close your deadline is, you could try that as well.
     
  4. spud

    spud Member

    If nothing else, just transcribe, transcribe, transcribe. You'd be amazed at how much it breaks up the story and makes each one seem completely unique. You're getting a little bit of quote and a little bit of your own voice.
     
  5. joe

    joe Active Member

    It sounds like you've already made up your mind what the story is before even talking to the subject(s). That's the habit you need to break. Instead of asking the same questions over and over, which it seems like you're probably doing, ask something different -- no, not What kind of tree would you be?, but something. Listen -- really listen -- to what your interview subject says, and expand on that. Pick up on details and investigate them. Interview someone besides the player/coach, someone with insight into your subject beyond the sport-specific arena.
    In short, investigate and report. Easier said than done when you're in a rut, but that's what it comes down to.
     
  6. ive done that and it can totally change a story from what you first perceived it would look like
     
  7. formulacola

    formulacola Member

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I've taken the tips into my writing, and I feel like I've been able to break a little bit from the rut.
     
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