I was reading an interview with Jon Franklin - link is on the right side of this blog's main page further down - the author of our textbook, and was struck by this comment:
In reporting you also focus on picking the right main character for the story. Could you talk to me a little about that? How do you find the right character?
Writers tend to be either story-based or character-based. They find the story and then the character or the other way around. I tend to find the story first and then hope it tells me who is going to be the main character. Quite frequently, the character who I think is going be the main character ends up not being the main character. In “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster” I was sure she was the main character, but in the end she wasn’t.
Why wasn’t she as good a main character as the doctor was?
The reason I thought she was going to be the main character was because I thought she was such a courageous woman. But since the story turned out to be totally about the operation, she wasn’t even there. And the story ended up being about what it is like to be a surgeon who just killed somebody.
As a result I'm changing the assignment.
1) Rather than just writing down three people you'd like to profile, also write down three "stories" you'd like to explore if you can find a way into them. Stories could be issue-related, like urban poverty. They could be institutional, like San Francisco City Hall. They could be professional, like night-shift cab driver.
2) Find a profile that you like and post the beginning and the end of it on your blog. We can check it out in class. Be prepared to explain why you like it, why it "works" for you.