I hate Q&A style interviews

I find them meandering and too long and just a bore to read.

One of the habits I've picked up from reading Hemingway and dealing with clients from NYC is brevity.

I used to be verbose af but these days I can't handle articles that tell me they have facts in them but make me dig through a bunch of "Oh, so you think..." questions and long, meandering answers that circle around the actual answer.


I'm sitting a Barn Hammer on my second beer (Coffee Black Rye Pale Ale) and I just finished putting together questionnaires for this year's TEDxWinnipeg speakers.

One of my jobs as a volunteer on the Social Committee is to coordinate doing these Q&A's with our speakers and as I was sending them out I realized I couldn't remember the opposite of a "Q&A style interview" and remembered that back in the day when I wrote for Spill Magazine I had to do an interview with a local band that I really, really struggled with.

So I looked up the email thread from 2014 and remembered that "narrative style interview" is the name of the interview style that I prefer these days.

I also realized that when I wrote the article I hated narrative-style interviews because I still wasn't confident in my abilities as a writer.

At the time I pushed back at my editor, Stephen, who is a magnificent human being, and said that I was really struggling with doing an interview where I didn't just transcribe what the musicians had said verbatim during our chat.

He told me:

Alyson, you're selling yourself short. You are a great writer and what you put together makes for great music journalism. All I ask is that you don’t close this door on yourself just yet.

Which blew me away because the part I remember is how anxious the exchange made me feel, not what his response to my anxiety was.

(Ain't that always the way?)

I wrote for The Spill for several more years and did heaps of album reviews and interviews, including the time I interviewed Thomas Dolby from his houseboat The Nutmeg of Consolation where I was so nervous that I thought I would swallow my tongue during the interview.

It taught me that when you know good people who push you and support you, eventually you start to realize that you can do anything you put yr mind to.

And with some luck you, too, can be as concise as Hemingway.

Or at least you can give it the 'ol college try.