Great Magazine Writing

We often talk about novelists who do a great job describing places and things. But magazine journalists can knock it out of the park, as well.

The New York Times Magazine’s Sam Anderson did a great job (Aug. 11 issue) of describing tornadoes. Here’s an example. Look at how brilliantly he used “floating opposites” to describe things known and things unknown about twisters. Great stuff:

“Tornadoes occupy a space at the intersection of knowing and not knowing. We know everything about the conditions that help them form but almost nothing about why they actually do form. We know the paths they take but not why they take them. We know where and when, throughout Oklahoma’s history, tornadoes have done the most damage … but we don’t know exactly why they hit those spots instead of 100 miles north or 50 miles south. We know that tornadoes frequently spawn in families, that they make some walls collapse inward and others fall outward, that they’re often preceded by green light and giant hail and an eerie calm, that their parent storms kill them, eventually, with cold wind. We know that the bad ones like to form at the very back edge of a storm and that, in our part of the world, the funnels tend to rotate counterclockwise.”

Active. Descriptive. Colorful. Accurate.

Great writing.

About danahaynes

Dana Haynes is the author of ICE COLD KILL (2013), BREAKING POINT (2011) and CRASHERS (2010) from Minotaur and St. Martin's Press.

Posted on August 22, 2013, in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Great Magazine Writing.

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