1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

college student who wants help

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by YoungGun7, May 14, 2007.

  1. YoungGun7

    YoungGun7 New Member

    i really enjoy writing. i'm trying to develop my own style, and i like the way this story went. let me know what you think.

  2. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Re: college students who wants help

    Hey 'Gun,

    Thanks for posting.

    Now, the story is a decent nuts and bolts story.

    The main thing I'd take a look at is your lede -- your first few paragraphs.

    It's the right thing to lead with, no questions there.

    But what sells something like that, what sells any story, are the details you provide the reader -- the scenes you set, the pictures you paint.

    I think your top would have been much more effective cast as if we were there during that game, maybe even present tense. You say the dude remembers the name of the play -- why not tell us? What went wrong? Who hit him? How long did it take him to recover?

    It's almost like you two shared a secret that you don't want to let us in on.

    Again, I like how you tie the collarbone in with the spring game, that's good stuff. But if you're going to start with the break, start big with it. Tell us how that feels -- physically, the snap of it, and then emotionally, standing there on the sidelines wearing a cast or a sling, climbing the walls. Paint that picture.

    And try to read your stuff as though you knew nothing about the story -- does it all make sense to the first-time reader? I was thrown by "that South Carolina game." If you make the top more active ("He never saw South Carolina's John Smith; he only heard him," or whatever), that would help. Now I know it was an SC player who broke him up. Also: Did he break his collarbone twice, in two separate incidents (which is how I read that line) or did he break his collarbone in two places? I didn't get that either.

    And last, if you have that kind of top, you might want to make reference to it again, deeper into the story, a little echo.

    Again, 'Gun, it's not bad work. I don't want you thinking it is. I just think there's room for improvement, and I figure if you're posting here, you're looking for suggestions.

    Bottom line?

    Details, kiddo, details. Put us there.
  3. YoungGun7

    YoungGun7 New Member

    Thanks for the input.

    I did put the name of the guy who hit him in the story.
    I guess i has playing to my crowd. it's a college newspaper, and most people remember the south carolina game from last season, so i didn't feel the need to go back, but i see and understand your point.

    as for the name of the play, i remember struggling with if i should use it our not. i'm sure the team still uses that play, so i really didn't want to put that out there. i know another reporter from a larger newspaper was there when i asked him the question about the play. the other reporter went on to ask other questions about the play, and i left to interview someone else. the reporter didn't use the name of the play in his story, so i thought maybe it was an ethical issue.
  4. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    You're right, 'Gun -- I missed the SC guy's name. Sorry about that.

    And I hear what you're saying about audience, which is important. A lot of your readers would know better what you're talking about. (American college sports are not my strong suit.) But even people who watched the game that day could probably use a fresh view of it, through the QB's eyes. They might remember the play -- and that's a good question about naming it; someone else here could probably better answer whether that's an ethical issue -- but they could probably stand to understand better what it was like for this guy, at the time and after.

    You kind of went halfway there. But you've opened up a good debate. For me, having never heard of this guy or this play, I wanted to know more about it. For your readers, maybe it would be too much like rehashing old news, like describing Theisman's break for the umpteenth time.

    Hopefully some others will chime in, and we'll figure out the best approach.

    Thanks again for posting.
  5. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member


    Knowing your audience is a great first step in becoming a strong writer. For Jones and myself, I never heard of this cat. I don't follow college football too closely. For me, I wanted to know more about this guy. But if you're auidence knew him, I understand.

    Now I'm not sure how much room you had here, because it could have gotten lengthly.

    This graph really hit me:
    "Henig can recall just about everything from that South Carolina game: the name of the play, how he felt and more importantly, the hit Jasper Brinkley delivered that abruptly ended his season."

    To really bring in the readers, to dive into this would have hooked them. Hell, it would have hooked me. Dig deep into this and the fall out from his second broken collarbone. What he's been through and where he's going.

    Which brings us to his performance in the spring game. Finally, spin it foward with his future on this team.

    Toward the end of the story, bring us back to where he was when he suffered the injuires and if that somehow made him a better person, blah, blah, blah.

    I guess I'm rehasing what Jones said (I just looked over what he said), but this was a solid effort but seemed like it was missing some depth.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page