1. Matt!
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    Matt! Member

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    GONZO Journalism (ideas needed)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Matt!, Apr 28, 2011.

    I really want to try to write some "gonzo journalism", but I really cant think of anything to write about. I could fill my head full of weird and wonderful drugs and go searching for the American dream in Las Vegas, but I don't have the time or money. The problem is that I live in a small village in the UK where nothing really happens. So that also cancels out going undercover in the Hells Angels. I also don't just want to copy other people's work.

    Any ideas?:confused:
     
  2. adonisthomas
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    adonisthomas New Member

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    While typically, going Gonzo would be something in which you'd want to base on a real life event that you've experienced, I'd say that since you live in a smaller sized town, you should just try writing on either a memory you have, or just on something generic sounding, especially if you're just wanting to start writing in the style to get comfortable with it.

    For instance, try writing "Little Red Riding Hood" in Gonzo style. Seriously, it may sound a little corny, but it can be a great help.

    I'll jot down some ideas as well that could potentially be cool as well. Some of them, I've done myself.

    Bare knuckle boxing, Concert/Music Festivals, Any incident with the police department, Hunting excursions, Camping, Sporting events, and (by far my favorite) zombies.

    Of course, I'm not sure how far you are from a large city or anything, but something that could be good, depending on how comfortable you are, but just walking around the "scarier and sketchier" parts of the city at night/the evening can give you some inspiration.

    I hope I was a help.
     
  3. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Gonzo is all about writing with first hand experience of the event, being subjective not objective, including yourself as the main character rather than the event itself. The drugs were part of Hunters life so he wrote about them. Writing Gonzo does not mean write weird stuff about stuff and make drug references through out. If you are writing about Little Red Riding Hood, you would have to re-write it from your own point of view, which means including a new character into the story (you) who then reports on it to the reader (who already knows the story)...???

    If you just want to write a messed up story, then write 'Little Red Riding Hood on Acid' but this is just a re-write or a new spin on an old story, it is not Gonzo journalism.
     
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  4. Matt!
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    Matt! Member

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    I could write about my last holiday to the canary islands.

    Why didn't I think of that. This is a great idea.


    These are some good ideas, thanks. Would you mind if I read some of your gonzo?

    I don't live too far away from the city. This reminds me of an idea that I had. I thought of sleeping rough for a few days in the city. I could befriend many people. I wanted to put myself in William s Burrough's shoes when he wrote the book "Junky"(without taking the junk). The city that I live nearest to has a massive junky problem, nothing compared to the big cities. Its more intresting to read about this drug problem first hand/subjective, than to read about it objective. The journalist who writes objective journalism probably never even left his seat. Wheras I could write subjective and could see it all/ feel it all. I could be there on the street, I could understand it all.





    True. I think I have been linking Gonzo and drugs a bit, however it is the drugs that changes the perception of the writer. Hunter took a selection of drugs to vegas. I think this was because he wanted to change his perception, and different drugs change your perception in different ways. What I think he was looking for was subjective view through the eyes of the different drugs. There would be different emotions and feelings. He wanted to take the reader on a ride. He himself claimed that fear and lothing in las vegas was a failure, but it actually was very popular. So possibly when he wrote it his perception had changed and this made him feel uneasy. He edited the book 5 times!!!

    This approach fascinates me, but you are correct gonzo doesnt mean I have to have a head full of drugs.
     
  5. adonisthomas
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    adonisthomas New Member

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    Yes, you're writing from your own perspective. But throughout, you're not telling the truth. You're exaggerating, leaving the story raw with little editing, and in can down right lie about the entire situation. Hence, why you can "Gonzo" an alr eady known story. Because it's fiction. It's style over substance.

    That's why I suggest doing something like that as a writing exercise. It's actually something I started doing after a high school class project. While we didn't "Gonzo" a fairy tale, we were given the assignment of re-writing a tale in a style similar to "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger.

    I do understand your point in all this, but I still don't necessarily believe it has to be something you've done and witnessed since it's style of over substance. Especially when you're just starting out and wanting to experiment.

    All great ideas that you've got there. The "Junkies" idea reminds me of something similar that I covered last semester. It was over the homelessness problem here in our city. Long story short, our local government was trying to make homelessness illegal by passing ordinances that would make it illegal to be on many sections of property after certain hours, etc...Basically, they were trying to move a problem instead of trying to solve it. Ridiculous, I know.

    Anyways, during this time, me being a college student, actually spent a ton of time with the homeless. Staying the night out walking downtown. Finding all kinds of different places that were really pretty unknown to the common citizen. It was crazy to say the least. And i know for a fact that the local media writers did the majority of their coverage from their desks.

    And while we kept all that very newsy, I always wanted to re-write all of it giving more of my own opinion on the matter, etc...

    As far as reading some of my stuff, sure. I'll have to dig up something for you sometime. Which, I still haven't done my two "required" reviews yet, so I won't post it. I'll find something and send it to you.
     
  6. Matt!
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    Matt! Member

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    That's the way journalism is now. Gone are the days of investigative journalism.

    I think you should rewrite it. I would be extremely interested reading it. Where is it that you live? I am assuming America? Homelessness is one of those things that really gets me. In the UK most of the homeless people are ex services, usually army. When they leave the army after putting their lives on the line, they end up on the streets. The UK doesn't care, it's a disgrace, however there are those who just don't want to work. The UK gives these lazy people a room and pay for their bills etc... If they have children, they can have a house. For some people it's just a career choice.

    I am looking for a book at the moment called "the new journalism" by Tom Wolfe. It has examples of different practitioners of the new journalism movement. HST is included in this book. HST's piece on "the kentucky derby" is in the book. The majority of the book is on google books, it's worth a look.

    Oh yeah also have you read The Rum Diary?
     
  7. BellaBilo
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    BellaBilo New Member

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  8. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I too was very inspired by reading FaLiLV, and perhaps even more so after reading The Rum Diary, but I'm inclined to agree with sprirj when he says Gonzo should come from real-life experiences.

    You can make up stories, of course, and write them in a 'Gonzo' style, but you'd have to be very careful people didn't see through the fa├žade.

    Having said that, The Rum Diary reads very much like a bog-standard work of fiction (albeit with Thomson's fingerprints all over it) - and probably is in the main - so who knows?
     
  9. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    In terms of a subject, join the local church/village hall/knitting club, just get out there and meet characters, interview them.
     

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