Interested by a potential outline technique; write the news articles that would accompany the events of your story to clarify details/beats. — heavyliftingind (@heavyliftingind) March 23, 2015
One of the things that I really love about writing is that it doesn’t seem to matter how much I think about it, something new always crops up. In truth, I’m not terribly sure where this came from. It’s one of those things I crammed into my twitter feed and then promptly forgot about.
News (obviously) tells us a story. Individually and collectively, there’s a lot of context that we can pull from news articles. We certainly see it used enough in various fictions. An entire narrative fiction could be written exclusively with news stories. I’m not terribly sure it’s one I’d be interested in reading, in much the same way that World War Z ground on me, but it’s possible.
There was an interesting keynote talk from Matt Heusser that I caught at the KWSQA software testing conference last year. The piece that really stuck out for me was not just brevity, but also in pulling out the key bits of information for the intended audience. The general exercise was about writing the headline for an article in a school newspaper where the faculty would be travelling for training / education an upcoming school day. There was a bunch of additional information about the training, location, and what it would entail. The “right” headline lead to a room full of knowing smiles.
“No School Friday!”
This is really the heart of it: context.
I think there’s a reason that this was lost to my twitter stream and forgotten. As an exercise, this could be an amazing technique to aid in clarification, but it’s probably not a good one for me. If I’m that mired in a story that I’m missing the clarity of who my main actors are and the scenario they are caught up in is then I clearly don’t have my story anywhere near where I’d regularly be comfortable. Significant reconsideration would be needed on my part, not a writing exercise.