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Saturday, March 24 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Writing to Climax: How to build narrative momentum in nonfiction when the reader already knows what's going to happen

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For lot of us these days, our bandwidth to read news is near capacity. Often, it's not enough for a subject to be important. To keep a reader's attention, the story must build a compelling narrative, but breaking through to reach an audience in the first place means establishing the story's urgency, and news value, as early as possible. Which makes for a common dilemma: What to spill at the top of the story and what to save for later? Unlike so many of the literary tools that have clear applications in journalism, developing a plot that twists and arcs toward a dramatic crescendo is sometimes a hard thing to pull off in the news business when the big ending — the death, the bankruptcy, the scandal — has made headlines long before the reader lays eyes on your lede. Using examples from both fiction and non-fiction, including his own efforts in BuzzFeed stories about hate crimes and police brutality, Albert Samaha will explore this challenge and the structural tricks available to overcome it.

avatar for Albert Samaha

Albert Samaha

Reporter, BuzzFeed News
Albert Samaha is a national reporter covering criminal justice for BuzzFeed News. He has written in-depth stories about hate crimespolice brutality, the longterm impact of incarceration, the fragmentation of gangs in Chicago, the worst prison bus crash in Texas history... Read More →

Saturday March 24, 2018 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
Terrace Lounge