Yesterday, Montreal journalist and short story writer Neale McDevitt came to do a talk at Marianopolis College and also to speak to my Print Journalism students. Neale is editor of The Reporter, a McGill University publication that comes out every two weeks. He is also the author of One Day Even Trevi Will Crumble, a collection of short stories set in NDG, here in Montreal.
During his talk for the entire school, Neale focused on his work as a fiction writer. He said, "I write a lot from reality" and he explained how the main character in his short stories is based on himself, "only way more bitter than I am."
When he came to see my Journalism students, the focus was, of course, on the world of journalism -- story assignments, deadlines, last-minute changes. But my favourite part of Neale's talk was when he passed on some advice his own father once gave him (Neale's dad was well-known radio broadcaster Bob McDevitt): "Tell the story of the people." In other words, the best stories aren't about issues or problems, the best stories, whether they are news stories or short stories or even novels, focus on PEOPLE!
So thanks Neale, for an inspiring visit. And tell your dad thanks from us, too!