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Cross Country feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by JD, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. JD

    JD Member


    Feedback appreciated!
  2. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I like it, JD.

    I'll let some of the more experienced people here do the line-by-line edits, but a couple of thoughts:

    -You touch on two potential angles in the body of your story that I think would have worked more effectively as entry points than your current lede...
    She's the first girl to ever qualify from her school... what did that mean to her? How difficult is that to develop into a top-level runner in a school that doesn't have a lot of tradition?
    You also said she narrowly missed qualifying last year (how close was she, exactly?)... how did that motivate her this year? Did that add to the pressure at this year's qualifying meet? Did she have last year's results hanging on a bulletin board to look at every morning before her run?
    to me, those are the angles to get into the story.

    -A little nit-picky thing, but I'm not a big fan of using things besides "said" when attributing quotes (such as "noted").

    Overall, a solid nuts-and-bolts feature, IMHO.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Lots of probems here, JD, starting with the lede:

    After clearing the dust and dirt out of your eyes, you may be able to catch a glimpse of Pioneer junior Erin Sanders as she swiftly passes you by.

    You/your ledes are usually a bad thing. I don't have any dust and dirt in my eyes. She's not running past me.

    Since you refer to "last Saturday," I assume this was written for a weekly. You should be looking ahead, using the fact that this "reluctant" runner has become the first from her school to qualify for ther State championships as the angle of your story.
    Tell me about her, how she got here, what it means to her ... those facts, which should be the angle here, are buried.

    The writing itself is not bad, the approach is the problem.
  4. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Agree with spnited. Lots of potential here, though.

    The you/your lede immediately threw me off. The point of writing stories like this is that people might not know about her or see her run. So writing like the reader is or should be there is awkward.

    Also, it sounds like your lede is claiming that this girl is fast, so that is why she wins. That kind of goes without saying in a cross country story.

    I really think you buried the lede in the fact that she wasn't really into cross country at first, but now she is the best in the school. That seemed really interesting to me.

    Thanks for posting and keep working hard.
  5. I agree with the others that you missed the real story. Also, you overplayed her skill level by saying she's super fast. 20:33 for 5,000 meters is good for some girls, but it's not impressive. Wait until you write about a girl who runs 5 kilometers in less than 18 minutes to really lay on the superlatives. Besides, if she's so fast, why did she get beat by eight other runners?

    Also, don't ever use "step up." It's a cliche. Don't every hyphenate "cross country," not even in "cross country runner." I lose that battle more than I win it, but I know I'm right.
  6. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    story says the race was three miles, which makes 20:33 even worse. barely a varsity time in many states - converts to about 21:15 for the normal 5,000 / 3.1-mile course

    so be careful not to overstate how fast she is

    nice accomplishment though, first one from her school to advance, so focus on the achievement and not how fast she is, because she's not, relatively speaking

    also: I'd like the first quote to be from her, not the coach
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