The New Yorker (March 20) carries an interesting story about the writing style of Time magazine posted by Calvin Trillin who worked for Time magazine as a ‘floater’ and editor in 60s under the title, “Time Edit.”
There is the following statement:
Writers at Time paid a sort of homage to those leftover tics by using phrases like “short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump.” It was largely because of the constant pressure to compress that Time prose struck me as more difficult to write than to parody. A common complaint then among Time writers who found themselves stuck on a story was “this story just won’t write”—as if the story had a will of its own and was using it to resist being shaped into a coherent narrative. I may have used the phrase from time to time myself. The problem was mostly space.
I don’t understand what “This story just won’t write “mean. I feel like agreeing with 'This story tells ....," but can the story write a story by itself? What does it mean?
The author explains that Time writers used this expression ‘from time to time’ because of space constraint, by admitting by himself "it looks like as if the story has a will of its own," and "the problem was space (constraint)."
However, is the expression,“This story just won’t write” grammatically right? Does it make sense to most native English speakers, or is considered good Time-style English?
If this is just a usual expression both grammatically and rhetorically, why the author should have picked up this particular episode in explaining Time’s writing style and its obsession to space, which seems to be rather wasting space to me?