No One way to tell a Story
Written by Idea File Staff
Copy is no longer quote-transition, transition-quote copy written in third person. This long-used form of storytelling is being replaced by attempts to really place readers at the scene of the story. Some stories are roundtable discussions, while others revolve around a moment or detail that is woven throughout the copy to become the focal point, like the homecoming story in the Shield from Thomas Downey High School, Modesto, Calif.
I and you are no longer taboo. It’s okay to be subjective in a story — in the new books, a story that places the reader at the scene and makes the raw emotion of the situation almost palpable has achieved its goal. The story in Hoofbeats from W.H. Burges High School, El Paso, Texas, uses a journal-entry approach mixed with a student’s conversation to tell the story of Sept. 11. It is not so much the who, what, when, where, why, and how that matter so much in this story, but the memory of how the attacks on the World Trade Center made the writer feel.
“There’s no one way to tell a story. Just like we go to magazines to get photo ideas and design ideas, I think we need to read a lot of stories and see how many different ways there are to tell them. … It’s about personalizing it and making it about someone’s experience as the story’s being told. My editor’s whole goal was to write stories so people reading them would feel as if they were right there.”
Arrowhead Christian Academy,
layout and copy by Jesus Garcia
W.H. Burges High School
El Paso, Texas
(alarm bell rings)
Sheets are falling halfway off the bed. Homework papers spread across the floor, proof of a sleepless night. A single ray of light penetrates through the window to junior Dominique Thompson’s room. She gets up, still half asleep and looks through her closet for what she’ll wear to school. It was to be just like any other day. Just another ordinary Tuesday.
(1st period talking to a friend)
“Did you hear what was going on?”
“Two planes just hit the World Trade Center in New York.”
“Yeah, they smashed into both of the buildings.”
“Wow, how did that accident happen?”
“I don’t think it’s an accident.”
“At first, I thought it was just an accident like any other,” Thompson said. “When they said that a plane crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania and then into the Pentagon, I knew something horrible was going on. I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to think. All that went through my mind were the people who were going through all of it. The thing that touched me the most was realizing that policemen and firefighters were going back in there. Basically, they were going to their death. Every day I ask myself ‘why’ and I can’t help but feel a sense of anger and frustration. The people whose families died in the attack weren’t the only ones affected. It affected the world and generations to come.”
Alison Dial & Janaea Ange — story
Thomas Downey High School,
Somewhere between Marta Cook’s house and the stadium, Mickey Mouse lost his ear. No one saw it fly off.
The junior class float, themed the Mickey Mouse Club, needed Mickey’s right ear.
They launched a search party for the three-foot cardboard ear. Hopes of winning the float competition were dashed. The float took the appearance of a disheveled hay ride instead of a mousketeer meeting.
“I was worried about our float because we spent so many hours working on it and then it just fell apart,” said Marie Hafeman (03). “I thought we were going to have to present our float with a missing ear.”
Parent Christopher Vaille came to the rescue. He found the ear and the float was reassembled, but the fear of flying cardboard loomed in the back of their minds.
“I was worried about our float falling apart again, instead of what dance step came next,” said Megan Luty (03).
With missing parts and upside-down letters, the juniors were still able to place second to the seniors’ “Grease” float. The sophomores’ “Happy Days” and freshmen’s “American Bandstand” tied for third.
Before the float competition, the football team went into halftime with a close score. As the team went into the locker room, seniors Ricky Sosa and Merileigh Moen were crowned king and queen. In the king’s court stood Zach Tsuruda, Andrew Taylor and Brandon Estes. The princesses were Julie Smith, Araceli Garcia and Taylor Brekke.
The juniors were able to pull their float back together, but unfortunately, the football team couldn’t follow suit. They endured a heartbreaking loss to the Modesto Panthers, 15-19.