COM0014: Storytelling and Burying the Lead

By: Bryan Thiel


When it comes to writing, no one is perfect; as an old friend of mine says “that’s why all the greats drank”. There are so many things that we have to consider, and in the online world there are even more: Are we engaging the audience enough to keep them from just ‘bouncing’ away? Do they want to interact with us or share our content? While I’m lucky enough to have a background in many of the topics covered in lesson two, as I was thinking about what I’ve learned I came to the conclusion that it may be a realization rather than a reading: always be prepared to edit your work.

burying-the-lead-copy2I’m used to going back and fixing things. I work in a field where there are third and fourth (sometimes fifth) drafts, along with first cuts and final cuts. I have the benefit of going back and checking my spelling, or making sure I’ve kept things in context. In the real world, in real time, we don’t get to go back and fix things like things speeches or conversations that, on the record, show our true character.

The ability to fix things is an important one, because as you’re creating content you’re making big decisions that sometimes evolve over the life of your piece. Not all of our ideas stay the same over the course of our writing so we have to be on our toes, as if we were waiting for a foe to show a fatal flaw that we didn’t see at first: Perhaps the smallest detail (like what someone eats) can set them off, but we don’t know that at first. But as our work evolves we discover that information, and through our process we can work it back in.

Editing even helps with the crux of the lesson: burying the lead. When you write, you’re given all of the power and all of the information; it’s not voted on. And while people can change for the worst during a process like this as frustration, fear, and anger set in, information can only become more plentiful the more you research and write. Through research, maybe the narrative changes. Maybe what you once thought was a joke becomes real, and you have to change your approach. Maybe something people believed to be a spoof or a fleeting moment of poorly-timed self-appreciation was discovered as an authentic gesture with real repercussion.

Maybe Donald Trump becomes President.

And maybe, if I had edited this, I would have never buried the lead.

Aaugh-Not-Bury-Lead.jpg

Honestly I was stuck on how to approach this blog post, so I took a chance. When was the last time you took a chance in a public forum? Was it written? A speech in front of a crowd? And, most importantly, did it go well? Time will tell if this chance did! 🙂

**To be clear, this piece is not meant as a political statement; it is simply meant to show how one topic can evolve into another over the course of writing, how drastic that shift can be, and how valuable it is to be constantly looking over your content. It is not meant to insult or demean anyone’s views on the United States and the recent election.**

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