Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Slash and burn

I'm a free-lance writer, and right now I'm working on a profile piece for the Florida Catholic. They're doing a special section on vocations (which will run state-wide, not just in the Orlando Diocese edition where my previous articles have been published), and my story for this section is the profile of a local nun preparing to celebrate her 50th anniversary as a Sister of the Holy Name. I met with her Friday for about 2 and a half hours, but, it being the Easter weekend (and me being a procrastinator), I didn't really sit down to work on it until yesterday. My deadline to turn the story into the special section's editor is this afternoon, and that won't be a problem. My difficutly lies in another direction entirely.

I usually record my interviews and transcribe them later. Some people don't like to work this way, b/c it can be pretty time-consuming, but it helps me be more accurate. I also like the fact that I don't have to be constantly scratching notes while my subject is talking. I can make eye-contact and it's more like a conversation. Anyway, I was up late last night transcribing only the first side of one tape...and I have two more sides of tape to go. (Somehow, during that time, I managed to eat an entire solid chocolate bunny: 5 servings per one bunny. So much for trying to be in good shape for the wedding this summer, huh?). The one side of the tape turned out to equate 6 pages worth of single spaced interview. 650-900 words? I don't think so. Try the first page.

And so, the story is just not coming together with the ease that I thought it would. The problem is not that there isn't enough material, it's that there is too much, and it's all good stuff! It's so hard cutting good anecdotes, stuff you know that other people will think are neat, or could maybe relate to. And this nun, Sister Rose, has led a really interesting life, and she's a fantastic story-teller, who loves to talk about herself (though who doesn't, really?). I want to leave so much in, but don't think I'll be able. The "joys" of editing, I guess.

Fortunately, just before I took a lunch break, the special section editor (who, oddly enough, used to babysit for me and my younger brothers years ago) called and said that it's ok if I go over, and that if I can keep it at about the 1,500-word mark, that's ok; they'll edit it and maybe come up with a sidebar or something.

I just may be able to get it down to the 1,500-word area. Big sigh of relief. Now back to work.


El Capitan said...

Good posts... interesting site, keep it up.

-From a wannabe freelancer-

El Capitan said...

Good posts... interesting site, keep it up.

-From a wannabe frelancer-