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Daily Press’ tale of bankruptcy, infidelity and a get-away yacht reads like a novel

Money House by Flickr.com user Photos8.com

By Flickr.com user Photos8.com

Wow! This reads like a novel, I thought when I read Peter Frost’s series about businessman Allen Whitehead III in the Daily Press of Newport News. The three-part story, which won a Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) award, has the kind of stuff you don’t often see on business pages. For example, in part one (PDF):

“That’s why those who knew and trusted him were so surprised — shocked, even — when Whitehead abandoned his family, declared bankruptcy, boarded his 45-foot yacht with the woman he left his wife for and sailed out of Virginia.”

The storytelling about the former church deacon and financial adviser continues through the second and third installments. It’s so cohesive, I asked Peter if these were chapters from a book. No, he said, but they were pieces of a 120-inch narrative.

Peter Frost, reporter, Daily Press, Newport News

Peter Frost

“We decided to break it up into three pieces and run it that way,” says Peter, who covers the Port of Virginia, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and other large Hampton Roads companies. “There had to be some repetition, but I tried not bog down the second and third pieces with limitless” repeated information.

Today’s Tip: Write narrative series as one long piece, Peter says.

Writing as one piece helps identify the natural breaks in the story, he says. Then you can split it into multiple pieces that can stand on their own.

Peter wrote the story as a narrative because “we came to the story late — after the collapse of his career and his bankruptcy,” he says. “It’s easier when you come in with fresh eyes. ”

In Basics, Featured, Investing | Banking.

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