A Little Writing Gem

I went with a couple of my writing group buddies to a reading last night from Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer’s Guide. It was a great hour devoted to the craft of writing nonfiction, from journalism to creative pieces, and I left all charged up and ready to write. Perhaps because I’m such an avid movie watcher, I particularly liked this bit from the editor, Mark Kramer’s, own essay on “Setting the Scene:”

Purposefully or not, the author sets out the camera and the microphone–might as well put them where they help most. They are often set in one spot, but they can move–say, to the shoulder of a main character. The author may reset the range but must do it with care and intention, as filmmakers do.

I just love that first sentence. For starters, it’s a terrifically helpful metaphor; I like thinking of my essay’s point of view that way, as something that I can subtly shift depending on where I put the equipment. And then that casual “might as well,” generously assuming that of course we’re always in control, when in fact we’re often scrambling to remember just where we might have left our cameras and microphones.

It’s not that we don’t know all this stuff, right? It’s just good to get a fresh way of thinking about it every once in a while.

One Comment

  1. Overwhelmed! says:

    Caroline, I love readings from authors! Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of them in my city. Cool that you got to attend one. 🙂

    Hey, I wanted to let you know that I’ve got some free books up for grabs as part of my October Pay It Forward Book Exchange. Stop by if you’re interested in a chance to win. 🙂