Friday, August 19, 2005

Reslant Your Story Ideas

Often the same story idea can be reslanted or recycled then transformed into a completely different article. It’s a way to get more mileage from the basic work of gathering your research and interviewing different experts. Often I’ve used this technique with a magazine article or the research for the magazine article has become material in the chapter of a book project.

Kelly James-Enger has great and practical suggestions for any writer with her book, Six Figure Freelancing, The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money (Random House Reference).  Reslanting can be a drawback if you grow weary of the same topic. “Write about any subject more than once and you may get bored with it. Over the last five or six years, I’ve written a slew of articles on weight-loss strategies. We’re talking about at least $70,000 worth of work and hundreds of tips and suggestions—all of which could be summed up in four short words: “Eat less, exercise more.” A new writer might only be able to come up with one story from this simple phrase. But by focusing on three aspects of the topic—audience, angle, and approach—I’ve come up with a slew of different ways to approach this subject.” (p. 160) Then Kelly includes seventeen different stories from this one topic which appeared in various publications and provides an excellent example of this technique.

Have you interviewed someone who is rarely interviewed? While you and I may purchase and read the next book from our favorite author, you may not know that particular author is rarely interviewed. Not every author enjoys the promotion part of this business—and some of them rise to such a level they can turn down and ignore such opportunities.

Many years ago, one of my writer friends, Jennifer Ferranti, snagged an interview with best-selling author John Grisham.  He agreed to the interview because the resulting story would be published in a small obscure publication for Christian attorneys. Ferranti turned that single interview into a goldmine of other stories including an article in Writer’s Digest and a cover story for the Saturday Evening Post. It came from a single interview.

As you tackle your writing life today, let’s look for more ways to get your story ideas into print. The possibilities are out there if you are aware of the opportunity.


3 Comment:

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Paul Left a note...

Just saw your post on Fellowship of Chritian Writers and thought I would zip over and check it out.

New layout looks great!

I will be back this weekend to catch up with The Writing Life.



At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Terry, I wish you'd talk more about the interview process. (I might have missed an earlier post on it - ?) You've done more interviews than any writer I know. It would be helpful to hear about how you plan your interview beforehand--what you hope to accomplish, and what happens if you end up with someone who's not so chatty. Go to Plan B?

Your comment about the Grisham interview is great. It's always a good thing to write a piece that can be put to work in more places than one. Great post, with lots to think consider.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Darlene Schacht Left a note...

Great info. as usual.

It's interesting to run into familiar bloggers on the net, in this case I'm talking about the fellow I call 'Starbucks Paul', who left a comment above.


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