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Critique wanted

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by vonbaxter, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. vonbaxter

    vonbaxter New Member

    I am fairly new on the journalism scene and am writing for free right now at MVN.com to build up a portfolio and get experience. I would love it if you could all take a look at my first feature length article and give me some feedback. You can post it on the comments on the site or here!

    Thank you in advance!


  2. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    First, thanks for posting.

    Second, since this is a blog, I would say the rules are slightly different than traditional newspaper copy. I'm also not sure what you're looking as far as feedback.

    What you have here isn't a feature-length article, but a column. A column on fantasy sports that lacks a focus. OK, so you can't image a world without fantasy sports ... you root for other guys when playing for your team ... it changes the way fans look at sports, etc.

    To me this is just a whole lot of... um... well, uninspired copy. Not to mention the reader feels like they need a breather after reading each graph.

    In summary, try and find a more narrow focus and watch your length. Even if it is a blog, I doubt many people are going to plow through that copy.
  3. spud

    spud Member

    I know I didn't.

    I read the first part of your story because it was an interesting start. But your first parallel ("this reminded me of fantasy sports" or whatever) just seemed kind of 'eh.' That part in your story right there is what's going to draw me in. Okay, so you set me up with this real life encounter... make something out of it. It was just kind of a basic connection. You can do better, just put more thought into it.

    You seem to have fairly polished writing chops, at least polished enough to make something of yourself if you work at it. You just need to get down the nuts and bolts of story writing. I'm not one of these people who are going to tell you that you can't write about the fundamentals of fantasy sports because it's been done already. I think fresh angles come naturally through your writing style. But the flow could use some improvement.

    And yes, that was closer to a column than anything else.
  4. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Thanks, spud. I meant to address the lede. It just doesn't work or draw the reader into your piece. That's your goal, follow spud's solid advice there.
  5. vonbaxter

    vonbaxter New Member

    Thank you!
    I really appreciate the criticism as it is to the point and constructive. I have posted on a couple of other sites and gotten the "It is good. Needs a little work but overall a good read!" type comments which is a slight ego massage but didn't help me as a writer at all.

    I am really raw on the writing scene and know that I have flaws to work out so I am looking to see what is good about my writing, of course,but more so what is bad and to that end I feel that the comments on here are really helpful. I want to be able to eventually post an article on here that I get dinged for missing a comma or something minor like that and so I look forward to posting more work and growing as a writer.

    *Note - If you still have comments or critiques on this article please feel free to keep them coming!
  6. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    You've got the right attitude. Keep it going. It's not about liking sports and wanting to be around sports, it's about the art of writing. Continue to want to get better at that and don't rest your laurels on just being able to "cover sports."
  7. spud

    spud Member

    If you're going to make this a proper article instead of a column, beat the trail and do some interviews. Try to get in touch with some people that do this fantasy stuff for money. Find the originators (if you poke around the NYT or ESPN the Mag archives I believe they did a story on it). Get inside their heads. Get some information Joe Piddlerwanker who works at the hardware store around the corner couldn't otherwise find. There is value in opinion, of course. That's where a lot of business is going, especially with the rise of organizations like the one for which you currently write. But there is more value in homespun reporting.

    One thing that took me awhile to learn was that there is typically more actual reporting done in columns. It ain't just your opinion. One thing I noticed is that you've got the buds of that growing -- applying your brother's words to your article is a sure sign of that. But you have to go deeper.

    Next step? Pick up the phone.
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