Magazine Writing: What to Look for in an Interview

Tuesday’s Writing Tips: 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

What to Look for in an Interview: 

Not only are you looking for information, but you are also looking for good quotes and anecdotes you can use in your story. To obtain good quotes you can’t simply accept one-word answers. It’s your job to coax the interviewee in to giving details.

If the subject is telling a story, ask for details so you can re-create the scene. The objective is to SHOW, DON’T TELL.

Pay attention to how the interviewee acts as well. I like to pay particular attention to facial expressions and how the person tells the story. Are they “loud talkers”, seeking attention from everyone around, or, are they “soft talkers” that are quiet and shy. This type of information can be interesting to a reader and it paints a vivid image in their mind.

For example, I interviewed a gentleman who lost his brother. The family was holding a one year anniversary gathering to celebrate his life. The gentleman I spoke to was kind and soft-spoken. I could tell he deeply cared for his brother, and I was able to illustrate this in my article. I love reading about people’s personalities and how they react, it adds interest to the story.

If you are speaking to a “loud talker”, you might say the person is confident with a big personality. You can always spin it so that it doesn’t insult the person, but gives an idea of who they really are.

Off-the-Record Answers:

It is important to note that everyone has a right to their privacy, which means some things need to be left out of the article no matter how juicy or interesting the comment. If it is vital information, you may be able to obtain it in another way. Be patient.

Next week: Structuring the article

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.

Reading for enjoyment:

I am currently reading the book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson. The following haiku is inspired from this book.

Haiku of the day:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest haiku

three gun shot wounds
unbearable pain, cold sweats
her short fuse ignites

What are you reading?

Have a great Tuesday!



2 thoughts on “Magazine Writing: What to Look for in an Interview

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