Archive for Januar 2014|Monthly archive page

In the beginning was the sentence

In Journalismus, Schreiben on Januar 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm


O.k. I have a problem with first sentences. In 99.9 percent of the cases the sentence that I write down as the first sentence of my article isn’t catchy – it doesn’t jump out and grab you, the reader; in a word – it is boring. Which doesn´t mean that I didn´t spend time on it – a lot of time. The first sentence has to be written a first time. Only then is it possible to write it a second time, a third time, a fourth time… please, don´t stop. Weeks, a mountain of interviews and 100s of re-writes (only a slight exaggeration, trust me) later, the sentence sounds different, more alive.

But here comes the dramatic turning point. I spend my nights with these first sentences (instead of partying with my friends), and I finally find my masterful first sentence. Then the editor comes along. And edits. And thbbsszz – my first sentence is gone with the wind that that fucking no-talent moron passed as he deleted and rewrote my stupendous first sentence. Replaced by something that makes my toenails loose color (actually, I don’t paint my toenails, so they just turn a lighter shade of pale).  I am then compelled to send an excuse to my friends before my article gets published, explaining what´s wrong with the intro, that it’s not my fault, that I had actually had a great opening until my editor desiccated it, hoping they’ll read past that and not think I’m a mediocre hack. On second thought, I actually hope that my article will pass unnoticed. Next time I will give a shit about my first sentence. I will simply write in my own inimitable style; the first couple of sentences may be as boring as a silent scream on the radio, but then… a pyrotechnic display of ideas, poetry, content, ahh-effects, and profound knowledge will follow. I call it the turn-the-volume-down-before-the-explosion-style-intro. (In case some of my editors are reading this; I didn´t mean you!)

Foto: Maria Vaorin / photocase.com