We whipped through Capote and Kapuscinski, but keep both in mind when writing your scene assignment – in less than 1000 words, they keep the camera lens/reporter’s eyes focused on a place and time, and action with a beginning and end. McCann and Agee do this with a blend of action and summary – showing the mother sitting down to talk or the father’s turning on the hoses, then leaping forward in time to include many such instances. Naipaul walks the reader through the writing of a single sentence – his first for a book manuscript – and all that went on around it, not only for the character, but the writer. There is a ton of action – movements across oceans and over class and national boundaries — in that short excerpt from his autobiography.
Here’s the Tips-on-Scenes lecture from the Nieman series. We covered the main points in class, so this is just for reference. I think you’ve seen better examples via our readings (long tracking-shot in real time with the general zapping Charlie Cong; closed set in a Beijing taxi with Manon). Keep the five senses in mind.
Also, Orhan Pamuk’s excerpt from Istanbul is great. He uses old photographs (which he includes) to describe a city’s emotion.