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Tuesday, September 18

September 18, 2012

CNF Workshop: Today: Jones and McInerney. Remember that we are going to conclude our discussion of Mr. McInerney’s piece on Thursday at the beginning of class by asking everyone their thoughts about how, for lack of a better way to put it, they would characterize the theme.

Also for Thursday: comments and annotations for Holness and Cavender. Most people are doing a good job managing with what I know is a challenging workload, and also with speaking up in class — keep it up.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we workshopped Sydney’s screenplay. Bethany and Savanna’s screenplays were handed out and will be workshopped on Thursday.

Round 2 schedule:
Due Wednesday, Sept. 26 – Sydney, Zack (workshop Tuesday, Oct. 2)
Due Monday, Oct. 1 – Ashley, Autumn (workshop Thursday, Oct. 4)
Due Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Bethany, Savanna (workshop Tuesday, Oct. 9)
Due Monday, Oct. 8 – Rosemary, Kat (workshop Thursday, Oct. 11)
Due Wednesday, Oct. 10 – Sydni (workshop Tuesday, Oct. 16)

The Siren: Quiz today on types of leads. Then we talked about how to apply that to stuff that you’re writing for this edition.

“What’s my lead?” should be a question always in the back of your mind while working on a story. Sometimes it’ll be obvious, and other times it won’t. Often it will change. But how can you consistently come up with strong leads? Three suggestions:

1. What is the most interesting — or perhaps surprising — thing you found out while reporting the story? Maybe it’s a fact that not a lot of people know, or that hasn’t been reported yet. Maybe it’s something somebody said that seems to epitomize your story.

For example: take the seventh grade story we discussed. Say we talk to a seventh-grade boy who hates his dance classes, but loves Lincoln Park. Could that be a lead? Sure. It might look like this:

Seventh-grader Albert Nowitzikama loves everything about being a new student at Lincoln Park.

Well, almost everything.

“The dance classes we have to take make me cry,” said Nowitzikama, a 13-year-old student from Hopewell. “But everything else we do gives me an inner glow.”

Like all new seventh-graders at Lincoln Park, Nowitzikama has a schedule that includes one class in every arts discipline each week. So while Nowitzikama, a media major, takes a class in painting, he also takes classes in literary arts, music, theater, and — as mentioned — dance.

2. If you’re not breaking news with your lead — which would mean you’d wanna use a basic news lead — then you need to choose one of the other options. If you don’t have great quotes or even great scenes, maybe you’ll have to rely more on your own clever nature. (Say, the worldplay lead, or the roundup.)

3. Remember, the first sentence or three of your story is gonna hook readers, or it isn’t. If it reads dull to you, just imagine how it looks to someone else.

Also: the 35-word limit is a great rule of thumb for leads. Occasionally you’ll break that rule, but a huge opening graf is gonna scare a lot of people away before they even see what’s in it.

For Thursday: have your draft copy ready. We’re gonna review it and make our plans for the layout of the very first edition. We’re also gonna write staff bios as well.

In The Style Of: Today some of your shared your Rakoff stories and then they were all collected. The next style that we’ll be doing is not an author but a show: Law and Order (the original version). A teleplay was handed out – if you were absent, come get on ASAP, it is 65 pages long. We read about half of it in class. Please have the rest of it read for Thursday and also have your notes for it ready to hand in.

Please remember that if you take notes in class, you must distinguish them from the notes that you did before class, otherwise I will not give you any points.

Reading for Writers: Today we discussed the prompt you completed last Thursday and you had the rest of the block to work on #3, which is your story/cnf piece. Remember that the most important thing is to write something that you have the impulse to write, that you really enjoy and believe in (or at least try). There is no length requirement, but they are due typed up on Thursday.

Survey: Poetry: Today we had a quiz on imagery and sound devices. Then we had the fourth annual Haiku Rodeo. And it was good.

Actually, we’ll see how good it really was on Thursday, when we take a look at your haiku. We’ll award a valuable prize to the winners then. But whether you win or just participated, hopefully you had fun and maybe learned a little something about working on absurd deadlines.

No assignment for Thursday.

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