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Here's your question and answer of the week from the Punknews Formspring:
Q: How much time does John spend researching and writing his features?
A: It really depends on what I want to go into on the feature and how well I know the band. For example, my Chuck Dukowski piece, which I was pretty proud of, really only took about 30 minutes for the interview, one hour to transcribe, and about 1.5 hours to write, so it really only took about 3 hours total.
By contrast, my World/Inferno piece, which I think might be my personal best so far, took a lot longer. The interview was much longer, and I had to do a lot of research to get the timelines correct, as well as a lot of wading through different sources which contradicted each other. For that one, I'd say the research alone was like 8-12 hours. Though, the actual writing went pretty quickly as once I had the facts, the story pretty much filed in its own story. It probably only took like 90 minutes to write.
Further, my Crass piece, which I think was likely my most informative feature, took a fair amount of research as I had to do a fair amount of interviews and actually went through a bunch of documents. I liked how that one told a story through hard facts, but also had a personal side. I sot of feel that it was a little mish mashy at the end, though. That was probably about 2 hours of interview, 6 hours of research, and 3 hours of writing.
BRAG ALERT: I think my personal favorite, though, not necessarily the best plotted piece, but my favorite to do, was my FLAG piece. I think it did a really good job of describing all the personalities in the band, and I think it's really the first piece to really do portraits of most of the people I interviewed. That had a lot of interviews (about 5-7 hours) and a lot of transcribing. the actual writing zipped by, though. I don't know how long it took, because it was a blur, but probably like 2-3 hours.
Thanks for the interest!
P.S. A lot of people, for some reason, got upset that the FLAG piece and the WIFS were listed as an "interview" and not as a "feature." Those people, for some odd reason, were really bothered by the fact that those pieces "were not interviews, but were features." Those people were wrong and had no idea what they were talking about. An interview-feature is a type of interview. So, it is both a feature and an interview. they are not mutually exclusive. Refer to "The Rolling Stone INTERVIEW" or "The Esquire INTERVIEW" and you'll see the same type of article. What those people were expecting was a "Q+A" style interview, which is only one type of interview, and is actually a newer form of interview than the feature interview. But more importantly, why were people so unnerved by mere diction? That's an odd thing to get one's panties in a twist over. There are children starving around the world, you know.
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