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Helpful Votes: 7




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Before the Swarm (Kindle Single)
Before the Swarm (Kindle Single)
Price: $1.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the author, May 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
To Nicholas Griffin:

As a Literary Journalism major at the University of California, Irvine I've read and critiqued a lot of articles, books, and short pieces through the past four years. As you know, it is generally pretty easy to critique another persons work, and point out their flaws and where they could have improved. In my classes I've had a lot of experience where almost unanimously students find flaws in pieces by some of the most prestigious journalists, even on award winning pieces.
That being said, when our teacher gave us seven links to various kindle singles to read, and assigned us to pick one to download, I knew without even downloading your piece that I would like it. It wasn't the subject matter that sold me (I know nothing of ants), nor was it your subject (this was the first I've heard of him), what sold me was the short bio of you on amazon.com. Specifically the line: "Nicholas Griffin is the author of four novels and one work of nonfiction". When I read that you have previously written four novels and one nonfiction, I had a feeling that you could potentially be a master of the art of narrative nonfiction, combining fiction writing techniques with nonfiction content. Seeing that you have written novels before persuaded me to read your piece, since I knew that a piece as full and dense with research would not be boring, since you have previously mastered the effect of writing with a storyline, and would know of all the novelistic techniques used while writing a nonfiction piece.
After I read your piece, I found that I was indeed right, and through your exuberance and passion for the story I was able to find a previously unexciting topic extremely interesting.
In other pieces I've read, I have found that a lot of times journalists have a hard time balancing a narrative and a story with facts and research. It is hard for me to read pieces that have a paragraph of narrative, followed by five paragraphs of facts and research. I think that finding a balance is extremely important, and is something that you probably took into consideration while writing about ants and Mark Moffett. I think you paint a really good picture of Moffett in the piece, and show the readers his quirky character, as well as giving background to his subject of study, using the ants to build on his character and give insight to both him, and society as a whole.
I also really like the fact that you posted this piece as a kindle single. Long form journalism is being forced to move out of tradition forms that we have known for many years, and I think sites like Kindle and Byliner and Atavist really are the future for Literary Journalists such as ourselves. I think Kindle can improves their singles by adding a better description of the piece before the reader buys it, because that's what has stopped me from reading other pieces, solely because I haven't had enough information, and I don't want to waste a dollar on a piece that is different from what I thought it was. Luckily, your piece had a pretty good overview, which is another reason why I picked it, but I think it could be very beneficial for both your and Amazon's sales if a description by the author is added to the site, as well as the short "product description".


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