Saturday, October 10, 2009

Using The Word "I"

“No Story is ever finished”

So what the about the phrase “happily ever after?

That was my first remark when freelance writer Mark Follman said about how stories are never finished. I guess fairy tales don’t count, but now that I think about it, Mark may have a point. After all, they don’t call them sequels for nothing. But, in news terms, a story is quite simply never done. There are always follow-up stories or other angles to a story. Stories, whether in news or in films, go on and on either in continuation or different ways. Like the “Rocky” and “James Bond” films.

Some other things Mark said when he visited my journalism class this past week included:

“Best stories I’ve read don’t have to use the word ‘I.’”

When I read opinion stories, it amazes me how a writer can write so well, without having to use the word “I.” It is a challenge, but it works. I remember writing for the [X]press last semester, and when I wrote for the opinion section, it would usually take me about an hour or so to write something. This is of course, with little research and reporting. Now at the [X]press, writers can no longer use the word “I,” and a lot of amount of research and reporting is required.

“You have a big choice to make when you put your own voice.”

You think it would be the easiest thing to write an opinion piece, as noted in the above paragraph. Just simply writing your opinion about something and occasionally saying “I believe…” or “I think…,” isn’t really good enough. Come to think of it, it does get kind of repetitive. When I was thinking about it, I think that by using “I,” it makes it more personal to the readers. It’s like writing in a diary, but everyone gets to read it. Whereas, when you don’t use “I” and instead you use the scene settings and other dialogues, it makes it more realistic and convincing. And quite frankly, it makes it more professional.

FYI: I used the word "I" 7 times.

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