Friday, January 21, 2005

Question about a great story

I have some mixed thoughts on an excellent Eric Adelson story in ESPN the Magazine. The saga of Rick Lopez is a compelling, tragic one. I recommend the read. But I just ask: Did the reader deserve a little more foreshadowing of where this story was heading, or is the straight narrative compelling enough as is? Is making the reader go the distance to see how it ends OK, or should a hint have been provided, a graf or a even sentence.

Maybe it's enough knowing -- as is clear when you start reading a this kind of piece -- that something bad's going to happen without spelling it out.

But I'm not sure.


Anonymous said...

Depends which part you want to foreshadow. Saving the resolution for the last seven grafs gives it even more punch. As for the allegations, well, in this age, the first 10 words unfortunately foreshadow enough: "and they believed." The past tense, beginning a story about a young coach around young girls, plants the seeds (in my head at least) of where it's going. (Like you say, I wouldn't imagine they'd devote this much space in a national magazine to a guy who just turned out _not_ to be the god of basketball.)

Riveting story. Thanks for the link.

Didi said...

I think there's enough foreshadowing in the story as is. As written, the story hits the reader as multiple kicks to the gut. Reading it, you know something bad is going to happen, and I think that's warning enough. If Adelson had spelled it all out from the beginning, it would not have been as effective, and that's reason enough, imo.


Both excellent points. This was really more a source of discussion than my attempting to question the overall excellence of the piece.

James Mirtle said...

I agree. Unfortunately we, the jaded 21st century reader, knows where this story is going long before it gets there.