Part 3 of Constructing a Pitch – Dramatic Structure
So my protagonist has to be one or several building scientists. Protagonists come equipped, by definition, with objectives, obstacles to those objectives, and strategies to overcome those obstacles.
(I learned this articulated approach to story structure from Pauline Peotter, in her year-long course “Playwright’s Boot Camp” at Portland State. She refuses credit for inventing the method, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else.)
Who among my building-science sources has these attributes? Continue reading Building a Pitch for Building Science
Part 1 of Constructing a Pitch – Dramatic Structure
What’s the problem with the “Indoor Air is Bad For You” story? I’ve pitched it several places, with no takers. The angle with which I’ve shot it over the transoms is
The emerging discovery that it’s cheaper to treat asthma by fixing people’s homes than by prescribing them asthma drugs.
Let’s take the story apart, as a dramaturg would take apart a play, to see how it works. Or, in this case, how it fails to work. Continue reading Looking for the Hook, Dramatically
Aha! Or rather, uh-oh. I’ve been writing about how hard it is being unable to write, but I just learned it’s not that I can’t write. The problem is that I can’t find anyone who’s listening. The problem is the writing economy. Especially the science-writing economy. I’m not alone in isolation, but that’s no consolation.
At The Open Notebook: The story behind the best science stories, freelance science writer Kendall Powell writes
[T]he collapse of print advertising, declining magazine subscriptions, the enormous availability of free content online … has writers of all kinds talking and writing about their job security fears and inability to make a living wage in journalism.
Continue reading Science Writing Sinking: It’s Not Just Me
Suppose the practical questions of how to make a home healthy are solved. Suppose we do untangle the science of houses and indoor air, and how they make people sick. Fantastic.
Then what? Who will you call to figure out whether your home is making you sick, and what can be done about it? You’ll call an HVAC contractor, or some other kind of building contractor. It’s your house you want fixed, and they fix houses. Continue reading Who Do You Call? Part 1
I just sent this email to my Congressperson, Earl Blumenauer, who supported Fast Track for the TPP (TransPacific Partnership). He is otherwise an excellent representative.
Free trade is great in theory. I took Econ 101 years ago and learned why it’s so great for nations to maximize what they’re good at making, and sell their stuff to other nations that make other things better than they can. Continue reading Free Trade
From my last post, a couple days ago:
The obstacles to treating asthma this way are numerous, complex, and mutually reinforcing, like the obstacles to anything new. Fascinating villains, at least to me. And if I tell this story right, also troubling to any reader who might stand to benefit from this idea that she’ll never get a chance at.
So, what obstacles?
Obstacle 1. We don’t even know if this works for more than a few people.
There are a few heartwarming anecdotes, but no denominator. To find out how many people might benefit, someone’s going to have to spend money to collect careful data. Continue reading What Obstacles?
I woke up feeling cold. One December morning, after five days of below-freezing weather, my furnace didn’t wake up.
Since this was the kind of weather that kills old furnaces, my mittened husband made many calls to heating contractors before finding one that could squeeze us in. Continue reading Fahrenheit Asthma