In praise of great writing

Talk about rhythm in writing, Todd Frankel gets it.

If you really want to take it apart, read it out loud.

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12 Responses to In praise of great writing

  1. Reading out loud definitely added a lot to it. I think Frankel did a great job on covering a vast number of incidents without losing the reader. Because of its rhythm I read it a lot quicker than I would most stories and before I’d even realized it the story was over.

  2. Crystal Herber says:

    To be honest I didn’t think I would be interested in this story at all when I read the headline. But by the end of the very first sentence I was hooked. It almost had me wishing there was more to the story.

  3. Emilie Stigliani says:

    Beautiful! This piece is like poetry with the facts to back it up. Frankel took a lot of information, highlighted the most salient points and then put it into a narrative that sweeps the reader along. I admire this piece.

  4. ace9000 says:

    Momentum builds in this story with each new glimpse at another stray bullet. Frankel’s voice, his polish and his smooth weaving of narration and exposition all affected me. And it was hard to ignore the unnerving subtext of the ubiquity of guns in America.

    But I did ignore it. Now, I’m comfortably back in denial.

  5. karenemiller says:

    Aside from the fact that now I’m terrified to go to St. Louis for fear of being struck by an errant bullet, this piece has a lot going for it.

    I loved the lead. Its really interesting in a story like this that bullet is personified. I think it would be really easy to lead with a victim and “put a human face on the story”, but this works. Better, actually, because it brought a tension to the opening of the story.

  6. This story was very beautifully written. It hooked my in from the very beginning and kept me reading.
    I do think, though that the headline wasn’t the best and didn’t make me want to read the story but the first line did peak my interest.
    It also got me thinking. I’ve never been anti-gun at all, but after reading this I had to stop and think, it’s not just the intent of harming someone with a gun but what you don’t intend that can make guns so dangerous.

  7. Though I am not an American, I do think that Todd Frankel wrote a wonderful piece. I even agree with Emilie Stigliani when she said “this piece is like a poetry.”

    Frankel gave us many details and he caught the atmosphere… I feel like I was there while reading the story.

  8. I literally heard music in my head – as if a soundtrack was going on – while I read parts of this story. I found it interesting that the author doesn’t really attribute blame for stray bullet, but instead presents information and paints a picture of the aimlessness of it.

    I agree with christianannt when she said “the headline wasn’t the best and didn’t make me want to read the story.” The content is a jewel of information set within a framework that pulls the reader in, but the headline initially made me pass it over in favor of a more interesting read.

  9. Kip Hill says:

    I do enjoy the narrative style, but there’s a nice little nugget in there that’s almost subsumed by the structure of the story-“And 20 percent died, making stray-bullet incidents just as lethal as those when bullets strike their intended targets.” That’s one hell of a “so what” statement right there, and while the bullet angle itself makes for a fascinating read, I almost missed that vitally important statistic the first time through.

  10. madshro says:

    Wow this story almost gave me chills, the same sort of chills when I hear a really beautiful song or see a spectacular sunset. I agree with Emilie, it was so poetic. I especially love the line “the street was littered with hot lead.” He achieves the king of journalism I strive for–informative creative writing.

    I agree about the title. It doesn’t do it justice.

  11. Jared says:

    I’m writing this reply as an ambulance is driving down the highway outside my window, and the only thought I can think right now is “I wonder if it’s because of a stray bullet…”
    I really enjoyed the flow of the article. It reminds me of some of the books I used to read, when I had free time, and it’s nice to be reminded that this style of narrative can be found in (non feature-style) news stories as well.
    That being said, now I’m worried that a stray bullet is going to fall out of the sky and hit me sometime soon… From Sept. 3 to Oct. 3 this year, Columbia police were dispatched to 42 reported incidents of shots being fired, according to their dispatch data. Guns and bullets aren’t only a problem in the major cities -like KC, St Louis or Jefferson City- they’re also a pretty regular thing in Columbia as well…
    Just a thought. See you in class.

  12. Carlos D. Navarro says:

    Excellent piece indeed. The rhythm is just fantastic and I did tried reading out loud.Fantastic combination of facts and description, supported by relevant evidence. I totally agree about the mismatch between the story and its title, but maybe that wasn’t Frankel’s original idea. It would be interesting to find out what his original title was going to be, if different from the final one.

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