Identity 2: Obligatory Boogaloo Reference

22 Aug

Illustration by Don Tate II, Austin American-Statesman

A few months ago, I mentioned an online identity series I was working on for the Statesman. The second major story of that series, focused on junior-high-aged kids, ran in Sunday’s newspaper. It was one of those stories where I got panicked in the last week before it was due thinking I didn’t have nearly enough material, so I worked really hard to fill in any holes that I had and in the end ended up with more than I needed (an essential problem to have on large pieces, I find).

This one didn’t require a huge edit/revision the way the first story did. I tried something different in the writing process, too. For larger project stories I’ve been outlining, something I was always lazy about until we did a training session with Thomas French. He shared with us the outline for his stunning story “A gown for Lindsay Rose” (GO. Read it. Now.) and it restored my faith in outlines. For this latest story, I did a much chunkier outline than usual, pasting in quotes and bits I had in my head as I went through my 50-or-so pages of notes. Usually I just write section heads and try to keep the topics I want to cover in the story under those headers, but this time I actually put fully formed material into the outline. It made writing the story much faster and I spent a lot less time hunting through my notes for quotes or data that I had highlighted during my last read-through of the notes. Sometimes we have to trick our brain a little to keep organized.

The story also yielded the Don Tate illustration above, which I love. Don has a talent for taking these stories that are only half-formed when we discuss them and he starts and turning them into great artwork. We’re very lucky to have him. He makes our articles look good.

The other piece I had in the paper this weekend was a Digital Savant column about Facebook’s phone number-grabbing shenanigans. It ran as a blog post last week, too.

I’ve lost track of what Kirkus Reviews app reviews I’ve linked to, but I’m still doing about one a week. A few recent ones include Tail Toes Eyes Ears Nose (which Lilly loved), F:SH (not so great) and A Bear Ate All The Brussels Sprouts (beautiful, but odd).

We had a really full and wonderful weekend. Lilly’s godmother Jessica visited, the kids took full naps when they were supposed to, we visited Schlitterbahn and my wife and I even had time to go to the movies to see The Help. (Which, I didn’t realize, could get you in trouble with social media friends who believe the movie is racist. Sorry!) Lilly also invented (at least it was new in our home) the term “bootie-butt.” I may blog about that separately. It was kind of revelatory.

I’m taking some vacation time in early September and Late October, I think, so I’m figuring out what I’m going to do around that time and if there’s some writing I should be doing. I’ve been sort of avoiding the computer at home, late at night when I normally work on freelance stories and blogging. I’ve felt like I do enough posting and writing all day and by the evening, I’m really tired of hearing (reading) my own voice. I think that’s common for writers and something that it’s best probably not to think about too much. The best cure for that, I think, it just to read a lot of stuff from other writers you admire and I’ve been trying to do that as much as possible when there’s time.

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  1. Conquering fears | Terribly Happy | Bloggystyle - September 24, 2011

    […] above is part of a story that’s running in Saturday’s newspaper, part of the ongoing online identity […]

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