Guiding Interviews

This week in my feature writing class we were given the task of writing a humorous story. We were given a list of over a dozen options, I picked the one that I felt would offer the most comprehensive story. Disaster dates.

When I started asking around for interviews, I didn’t really get an overwhelming response. In fact, you would have thought I had asked them to tell me what they ate last week Tuesday for breakfast – they knew the answer, but could not remember off the top of their heads. Although I ended up with quite a few good stories (I think the article is going in the Muleskinner so look for it there), they were not the thing I remember most after the fact.

What was really educational (for lack of a better term), was the experience in guiding an interview. Most of my previous interview experiences have been mainly biographical or fact-finding. To get to these stories required a much more skilled approach.

First I had to make sure they would be comfortable telling me, I did this by informing them what the story was for so that they would not think I was just trying to invade their personal lives. Then I had to help them think of one. As I said, many people just did not seem to remember a good story. My solution? I told them one of mine, or two of mine, or just kept them talking about their past relationships.

A very interesting lesson learned.

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