The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam

By David Halberstam

"Among the simplest books ever written on specialist basketball." The Philadelphia Inquirer

David Halberstam, best-selling writer of THE FIFTIES and the easiest AND THE BRIGHTEST, turns his willing reporter's eye at the activity of basketball -- the gamers and the coaches, the lengthy street journeys, what occurs on courtroom, in entrance of tv cameras, and off-court, the place no eyes have -- in the past.

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There also are several chapters in the last part of the book that deal with such traditional feature writing topics as writing the lead, observation for detail, interview techniques, use of quotes, online databases, and more. But you'll find that all these topics are actually dealt with in the chapters on story type and structure. Real writers start with the nub or concept of a story, then expand this. It is a mistake to assume that good writers piece together a story like a quilt from separate, distinct parts called quotes or adverbs or summaries; books that emphasize the parts more than the whole are misleading.

This should sound like I was working off the time-honored "inverted pyramid," that reporting and writing model which always calls for answering the 5 W's and H. If truth be told, every story must answer the 5 W's Page 6 and H (who, what, when, where, why, and how) at some point, although not necessarily at the top of the story. The story you're about to read is set in Johnson County, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. Indiana has one of the highest concentrations of trailer park housing in the country, and the state is a leading manufacturer of mobile homes and trailers, so it was a good story to do for The Indianapolis Star.

It definitely was not in move-in condition, but it's a start, says the 29-year-old concrete mixer truck driver. A divorced father of two, Parker lives in the trailer alone except on the weekends when he cares for his daughters, ages 3 and 5. In the Page 8 five months he's been in his home, he has replaced some of the water pipes, repaired the roof and fixed seams in the sheet metal exterior walls that literally were coming apart. But it's home to him. "Oh, yeah, it was definitely the money," said Parker, explaining why he chose to live in a trailer.

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