Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writing Lysacek Style

Watching the Olympics these past nights, suffering from Olympic Narcolepsy all the next, it starts late here on the West Coast and then goes later.  Doesn't make sense, since we're  pretty much in the same time zone as Vancouver, but there you have it.  Media playing yank-the time-zones.

Still, it's worth the sleep deprivation, as long as you're not one of my co-workers, who have to bear the brunt of my Olympic-sized crankiness the next day.

The Men's Figure Skating Shoot Out at the Pacific Coliseumn...omg...Lysacek! * What a stunningly beautiful five-minute eternity on ice. The perfect flow of energy, grace, power, control. Nothing broke my attention on his flawless execution; I wasn't caught up in how high he leaped or how many times he spun. I was enthralled, enraptured, transported to those moments of lost-to-the-world concentration. It hit me then: we want this same sort of focused, breathless attention from our readers; we want them  to be so caught up in our world that they are not aware of how high we leap or how many sentences it takes to construct the scene and setting; we don't want them to see any clunky transitions or biffed landings.  We just want them there, an engaged witness to the story.

So I went out to the woodshed and began revising. Again.

But I work with hope in my heart and a somewhat clearer vision of the way forward: ditch the un-essentials, streamline,  streamline, streamline and weave in about eight triple axels.

* Because NBC controls all video coming out of the Olympics, this link takes you to YouTube of Lysacek's 2009 Championship Free Skate. Pretty amazing stuff, but his performance at the Olympics was even more so.

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