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Paperback The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on the Wall Street Journal Guide Book

ISBN: 0452261589

ISBN13: 9780452261587

The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on the Wall Street Journal Guide

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Book Overview

Storytelling--how to catch and hold a reader's interest through artful narration of factual material William E. Blundell, one of the best writers on one of America's best-written papers-- The Wall Street Journal --has put his famous Journal Feature-Writing Seminars into this step-by-step guide for turning out great articles. Filled with expert instruction on a complex art, it provides beginners with a systematic approach to feature writing and deftly...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Unique, Refreshing approach!

There is a voice in this book, and you can just HEAR this guy as he admonishes writers and drills into their heads the step-by step guide to reporting and writing. The tone is firm with a direct approach to feature writing as the author is adamant that, "reporting and writing can NOT be divorced." I like the sharp conversational tone; it's like sitting in the classroom. He is very clever with the similes and metaphors to clearly drive his point. Although this book has made the rounds for years, Blundell offers refreshing ideas and unique insight to writing. He speaks of experience as a Wall Street Journal writer. This is HIS voice, and not a slew of other professional writers churning out a how to book. I like a quote of his when he tells us that the READER requires specific information and our first priority is to meet that requirement and also that the reader has a deeper and more universal need that has to be met or, he flees. The author said, "nothing is easier than to stop reading." You won't find the usual writing book addressing topics like these. A sample chapter is Raw Materials - generating ideas; Extrapolation (beyond the event lies a broader, more significant story); Synthesis (assembling promising story ideas from what looks like a junkpile of spare parts); Localization (thinking big); Projection (declining to follow the media sheep to a pasture already overgrazed) and Viewpoint Switching (thinking of a story as a piece of terrain with varying topography). Also topics titled Shaping Ideas; Story Dimensions, Planning and Execution, Organization, and you get great insight into Handling Key Story Elements that delves into the dreaded leads and endings. What is interesting in a unique approach to his section titled Wordcraft. He assumes that you the reader already know grammar, syntax and usage. So his goal is to show us how to achieve certain effects at certain places in the story. You will read some full texts on sample stories that are sprinkled throughout the chapters. Blundell also provides reading material for the writer. He says, "whole forests have died to fill the marketplace with other writing books." One suggestion is Zissner's "On Writing Well." This is a unique writing book and is meant to read completely. ....MzRizz

Writing as critical thinking

One of the biggest mistakes young reporters make is viewing reporting and writing as separate exercises, one following the other. Bill Blundell rightly sees them as one process. Good reporting begets good writing. It begins with critical thinking about your subject, which if done properly brings strong focus and organization to your story. In 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor I've not run across a more practical, common sense approach to writing than that offered by the Art & Craft of Feature Writing.

I use this book to coach writers

Blundell understands that a well-written story requires thorough reporting, and this is one of the rare journalism books that gives both equal weight. My advice to daily beat reporters: Don't dismiss the story examples just because they're long. The book's emphasis on focus, clarity and insight can be applied to any piece, even a news brief. The sections on story development (which is really about disciplined thinking) explains how the Wall Street Journal gets those amazing features.

A storyteller's Bible---surely the best such book available

Contains a lifetime's worth of information---and inspiration. I've read it twice, and dip into it periodically because it contains so much truth. I was a journalist for ten years, and have read a fair number of how-to-write books, but nothing I've seen is in the same league with Blundell's work. He provides a comprehensive system for organizing material and for sharpening and vivifying a story to a professional level. While it may be true that beyond a certain point good writing cannot be taught, there are definitely techniques to master and mistakes to avoid. Apply Blundell's principles and your writing will almost have to improve.

simply the best book on the subject

This is it, the best book ever written on writing feature articles for newspapers and magazines. I've been writing, editing, and of course reading features for nearly 20 years, and have read many, many books on the subject. This is the one I press on colleagues, friends, even strangers on the street. It works because the damned thing is written by a guy who's done the work at a big-name daily (the Wall St. Journal), not an academic or writer manque. The book smells of the newsroom. It's real. Get it
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