Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson Writing from David Von Drehle & Joe Posnanski

Two great pieces I've come across recently on the shooting in Tucson. From David Von Drehle in Time and Joe Posnanski in Sports Illustrated, they stand out as excellent for similar reasons.

Great writing is a tough thing to achieve (with the point of this blog of course being to highlight examples of it). You have to have a good subject of course (with good being made up of: interesting, important, sad, inspiring, etc), but you also have to have something that comes out in the writing itself.

Assuming that the mechanics of a piece are there and it's easy to understand and gets it's point across, great writing to me often can be characterized as either Profound, Thorough or Different.

Writing examples of this would be the piece on Jill Costello as Profound and that on the Gulf Oil Spill as Thorough... and why both stories were included in those I considered as Best or Close to Best Writing Linked To from the past year.

Profound and Thorough are me thinks a bit easier to describe or understand as concepts than Different, though. This trait in great writing is when an author takes a story (especially a heavily reported on and interesting one) and crafts solid prose about a different aspect than others are scribing about. Good example of this also from the Best Writing Linked To category was Eleven Lives about the men who perished in the explosion prior to the aforementioned Gulf Oil Spill.

It's this category of Different that the Von Drehle and Posnanski pieces on the Tucson shooting fall into (in addition to the very much evident Profound). Rather than being about cause, effect and blame of the senseless act, both are about the people who lost their lives... with the Posnanski piece focusing on the youngest victim.

Really great writing in these two stories... The Real Lesson of the Tucson Tragedy by David Von Drehle and A Death in the Family by Joe Posnanski. Highly recommended reading.