Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

  • Mood:

Ira Glass on storytelling

Ira Glass (This American Life on NPR) on the techniques of storytelling.

This seems to be directed at videopodders, but it has relevance for writers as well.

From the first video: There are two essential storytelling elements: the interesting anecdote, and the 'moment of reflection'.  And raise questions as you go along.

From the second video: "Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap... All video production...all radio production is trying to be crap."

"If you're not failing all the time, you're not creating a situation where you can get really lucky."

From the third video: it's normal for your good taste, your critical abilities with respect to your own work, to disappear. What you do will suck. This happens to most creators at some point. The solution is to do a *lot* of work. Eventually your taste will return.

From the fourth video: the importance of voice (in radio, one's literal voice, but also our figurative writer's 'voice'). "Your cable channel...they already have the real Ted Koppel...they don't need you imitating Ted Koppel. The more you are actually your own self, the better off you are."

An anecdote: when I was around 22 or so, I had written a short story that I fancied was in the matter of J.G. Ballard's Vermilion Sands stories (which I was smitten with). I sent it off to F&SF, and it promptly bounced. I complained to Guy Lillian, a fellow student, and he said (god help me, I still remember it after three decades), "[Editor of F&SF] already has J.G. Ballard. What does he need you for?"

I didn't want to accept that at the time. But it's true. Every great writer is sui generis.

There's a danger in misinterpreting "The more you are actually your own self, the better off you are" to mean 'Don't try new things, don't imitate the masters, God bless the Squire and his relations." That's not it. It means—I think—reach deep inside yourself and find what is unique in you, your perspective on the world that is different than anyone else's. Explore that, flesh it out, apply it to what you want to write about, and readers will be interested. Not every reader, but the readers you want to reach will be.

Not long ago I would have thought the paragraph above was sentimental, mystical drivel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull singing "I gotta be meeeeeeee....!" Now I don't. Voice is critical. Ira Glass is right.



meaning: float, drift, bob

漂々 == hyouhyou == (noun) buoyantly, airily, with a light heart
漂白 == hyouhaku (noun that can take する to act as a verb) blanching, bleaching

Left radical is a radical form of 'water'. Right radical is 'sign/vote' (票), which here acts phonetically to express 'float/bob'. Thus, 'float on water'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Floating vote drifting on water.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment