Adding a timeline

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The story so far, adding new information in blue and new time-related material in italics.

Stage One • Stage Two

Joseph Plant was just 3 weeks old when his West Virginia home was sprayed with a mixture of chlorpyrifos and another organophosphate pesticide Propetamphos.

Soon after the spraying, his nervous system suffered a complete breakdown and he was left paralysed for life.

Faced with the traumatic injury and lifetime of expensive medical bills, the family decided to sue the pesticide’s manufacturer to recover some of the damages.

At first, the company followed its normal course of action and prepared to fight the case in court.

But then it changed its mind and decided to settle with the family for more than $10 million although the exact terms of the out-of-court settlement are not known because Dow made the family sign a confidentiality agreement.

Value as a story:

Still weak. Apart from the age of the child being given, the facts are all presented in an impersonal way. There is no explanation of the corporation’s change of heart. The human tragedy hidden in this story, and the cold-hearted calculation of the corporation barely begin to emerge.

What this second stage does now have is a timescale of events, a sense of movement, of events unfolding, cause and effect (shown in underlined italics ). The settlement figure has been brought into sharper focus, and the story now has a beginning and a middle, but not yet a satisfactory ending.

What’s needed now is still more detail.

Next stage: Adding narrative detail