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5-0 Prose

Photo Credit SeattleMunicipalArchives, Via Flickr Creative Commons

However much he saw of the world, Ernest Hemingway’s economical style of writing is often referred to as the iceberg theory…meaning that only one-eighth of the story behind a narrative needs to be above water.  We were reminded of this when we found the article "The Art of the Police Report" last year in the Writer’s Chronicle. The article drew lessons for crafting powerful prose from police reports filed by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Its author is writer Ellen Collett, who also works in crime analysis for the L.A.P.D. Her piece went viral after it was published, and it’s still being cited on numerous blogs, including “The Gamut,” USC’s look at writers and writing. When we spoke with Ellen last spring we found out how she, a writer who studied at Yale and Bennington College, ended up sifting through police reports at the L.A.P.D. Ellen Collett’s writing has appeared in the Writer’s Chronicle, Lost Magazine, the Utne Reader, and lots of other places. Her crime novel in progress is called “Grand Masters.”



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