Thursday, May 30, 2013

pitching a story

I'd like to approach crafting a thesis the way I'd approach pitching a magazine story. I've written for websites, school newspapers, and school magazines. Typically, when you have an idea for a story, you brainstorm ideas, scrap the bad ones, and then dump your thoughts about the best two or three. After outlining what you want to say, then you can fill in the material with quotations from interviews, photography, and typeset it, and you're good to go!

Additionally, I have been contemplating a project to submit to Salt Lake magazine for a few months now, so if it's good enough, I may pitch it for real.

The post which I most want to elaborate is that on "Stegner & Setting." Right now, my ideas range from the macro to the micro. Here they are, in very rough form:
  • retracing the steps Stegner describes both in his fiction and his essays. Using the framework of Philippe Hamon (private link) to talk about how we interact with the city
  • adding the previous idea to the idea of memory (using the Sonnet 122 idea of "tables within the brain")
  • Going even more specific: looking at one passage (maybe "something drastic had happened to Main Street"?), and relating that to urban planning and cultural memory of today (City Creek Mall, anyone?)
  • one of my favorite ideas—the idea of created space. The funeral parlor in Recapitulation doesn't exist, and as far as I can tell, never did, although he gives a very specific address for it and it's easy to believe it could exist
  • could always frame it as a travel writing piece—but isn't that more of a so-called staycation?
I like all these ideas, nebulous though they are. And honestly, this project started out as one part literary pilgrimage, one part excuse to eat doughnuts on South Temple. Gotta start somewhere!

All literary pilgrimages should involve petit fours.

(Once I move to Madison, I will be making a Crossing to Safety pilgrimage for sure.)


  1. I have never heard the term staycation before but it is a nice play on words. Also, what are those pastries? They look delicious.

  2. Those are some neat ideas. I love that you framed this as a pitch. And i would definitely enjoy seeing your essay as as travel writing.

  3. I assume you are speaking of Wallace Stegner who interprets and tells the frontier story, as only one who lived it could. I like your ideas; the ones that combine and compare two authors and their styles sounds intriguing (and beyond me). You are amazing, Charly!

  4. Great ideas! Look forward to hearing what you have narrowed it down to, especially if it comes with petites fours. They almost look as good as your ideas!

  5. Many pastries will have to be consumed in this process. :-)