Sunday, August 16, 2015

Out on the Wire: Uncovering the Secrets of Radio's New Masters of Story with Ira Glass by Jessica Abel

It's no secret that I am a devotee of public radio. NPR, PRI, APR, are a large part of my daily life, as are other public radio offerings in the forms of podcasts and music. (We're also big radio drama fans, old and new, but that's another story.) Book+favorite subject+creative format=Big Win for me, and thanks to Blogging for Books, I was able to snag a copy of Out on the Wire, a graphic/comic documentary about narrative radio shows. 

Being familiar with all but one of the shows that are explored in this book by Jessica Abel really helped. I dare anyone who is a "This American Life" fan to absorb the squares with Ira Glass in them and not hear his distinct voice. I found the details behind the scenes fascinating. However, the take-home message for me was that this is a great book about writing.

I live in a world surrounded by creative minds, absorbed in the worlds of writing, film, and art. The goal of all these endeavors is to share an image, tell a story. What is documented in this book are the approaches used on radio to tell stories, how to craft your message so you have a hook, explore the adventure, and wrap it up. Using techniques like the focus sentence to create the story, Abel shares the knowledge of folks who make their living this way via radio. There are chapters on creating a voice, sharing the visual image through words, editing, adding sound, and a kick-ass forward by Ira Glass.

All in all, for me, this book is a keeper and is going on my books on writing shelf for inspiration and aide when I do get back to editing my novel.

Tags: blogging-for-booksgraphic-manga-etcnonfictionreadtaught-me-something


  1. Aww, c'mon, Amy! You big tease. This book is a week out from publication and I went all over the webshop looking for it. Nothing but tantalising tempters, such as a couple of preview pages here at

    Looks good. I also found Jessica's blog at full of fascinating posts. They'll have to sustain me while I wait a week.

    Thanks for the heads-up. Even if I can't instantly download a copy in this age of immediate gratification, I can mark up my e-calendar to remind me. Done.

  2. Oops! Forgot it's not out yet. I think the date is August 24, but surely you can pre-order!