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4,000 words and no end in sight...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SuperflySnuka, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Man, this story is taking a long time!

    Anyone ever felt that way with a long feature?

    Then comes the fun part: Making the trims...

    [size=10pt][size=10pt] :'([/size][/size]
  2. FreddiePatek

    FreddiePatek Active Member

    Let it reach is organic conclusion, then take a good look at the threads -- if you've written more than 4,000 words you likely have multiple threads. Find the one (however painful) that you can remove without affecting the overall subject and trim accordingly.

    If you only need to trim a little, then look at the structure. There might be a section or two (or three) you could compact or merge. Happy hunting
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    How many threads we need on this story? The original not enough?
  4. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Not swinging dicks with you, Snuka, but the story I'm working on this very instant -- well, until this very instant, when I needed to take a breath -- was supposed to fall in the 6,000 to 8,000 range, and I just put 9,000 words in my rearview with a good chunk to go. So, yes, I know where you're at.

    I think it's a good thing, though. There's no worse feeling than having to stretch 500 words of material into a 1,000-word hole, except that time I was checking out a girl's ass on the street and realized it was my sister. That was a really, really bad feeling.

    ANYWAY, I'd much rather have 2,000 words of material and have to scale it back down. At least then you know those words count, have meaning, have weight.

    Just means you did some good reporting, is all. Keep running with it. And then go back and be judicious as shit in your pruning. Leave only the ripest fruit on that tree.

    And Moddy, I hear what you're saying (or I read what you're writing), to which I say, When you're a kid, every story is the biggest story in the world. And I'd rather read a thread about writing than run into the forty-seventh catjack or some other shit. As far as SportsJournalists.com sins go, I think this one's pretty small.
  5. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    4,000? That's how this fella started. Zut alors!

  6. Yup, Jones, I know what you're saying. I did get some really great stuff, but the hardest part is deciphering what's "GREAT" and what's good, or what's interesting and what's necessary. There's definitely a little window-dressing with this story, but part of me feels I need it for the readership. This isn't going in sports, it's a big feature, and I'm hoping non-football fans will buy into it.

    Maybe I'm overthinking it.
  7. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    this thread is useful without pictures
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    You obviously haven't seen Jones' sister.
  9. HHAHA Ragu, funny shit.

    Just finished a hair over 5,000. Whew.

    Thanks for the well-wishes guys
  10. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    Where do you guys work that you can run 5,000 word features? My desk starts to panic whenever I come in over 1,000
  11. Ohiowriter

    Ohiowriter Member

    For something to be longer than 50 inches, the depth of the piece better be damn good and filled with important details that matter to the story, not just those that matter to the writer.
    I know that some editors pass out these 100-inch edicts because they have the space. Then you attempt to read the story and the overwhelming majority of the time you can just sense the writer is just emptying the notebook. If it's an epic topic with many facets, make it a series.

    The length of the story doesn't have anything to do with how good of a reporting or writing job it is. Making it tight takes talent. I define a great piece when at the end I am left wishing it wasn't over and will have the desire to reread it. And that goes for newspapers, mags and even the net.
  12. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Oh, don't get me wrong, Ohio -- long doesn't always mean good. But if you're writing a story and the words just keep coming and coming -- and if you're honest with yourself and still find that most of those words matter -- then that's usually a pretty good sign.

    My bad stories are always, always the ones where I struggle to get something down on paper. That says to me that I don't know the story well enough -- that something went wrong in the reporting. That's all I was trying to say here.

    And for what it's worth, I spent last night finishing and then cutting down mine to 8,112 words. When I'm running like that, I just get it out and then go back. 1,500 words went bye-bye.
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