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Essentials to a good gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by BrianGriffin, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I've been frustrated lately with young writers working or stringing at my shop who fail to provide context in their game stories. It's almost as if their games happen in a vacuum. There's little written on how the game affects the race of whatever the league is, any sort of historic or rivalry context, etc. The information is out there, it's just sometimes young reporters get so caught up on who got the basket, the home run, or the touchdown they forget to provide the big picture of what it all means.

    So I wanted to throw that out there. DON'T FORGET TO PROVIDE CONTEXT. Often, I find the context winds up being bigger than the game itself. If, for example, a baseball team moves into first place for the first time three months into the season, a sizable chunk of that gamer on the 3-2 win that put them in first place is going to be on their rise to the top, reaction to being in first, etc., and a little less on an analysis on the fly ball that ended the second inning, know what I mean?

    Beyond that, I'd like that thought to start a thread on what YOUR thoughts are on what are the essentials to writing a good, solid gamer. I'm not talking about know the inverted pyramid and AP style and all that. Beyond the basics, what are the elements you look for in a well-written account of an event?

    I'll provide another one, speaking directly to my greatest weakness: STOP BEING SO GODDAMNED WORDY! Pretty self explanatory one there...
  2. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on a lot of things.

    Context certainly is one element. I like gamers that give me a sense of the atmosphere at a game. I've given a lot of ink to certain things I hear or see at a game.

    A column someone wrote after the Redskins lost to the then-Phoenix Cardinals at RFK for the first time in 19 years mentioned one of the chants directed at former Redskin Gary Clark. I read that line and I could have SWORN that it was I who screamed that at the game.
  3. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Painting a picture of atmosphere and providing context go hand-in-hand. If there are 100k fans there and they are loud as hell, it's probably because it's a big game, a rivalry or both. So you can paint the picture of the atmosphere and provide the context simultaneously. Something like: "The sellout crowd hoping to see the Celtics go up 2-0 in their NBA Finals series with the Lakers Thursday started their 'Beat LA!' chant eight hours before tipoff." etc., etc.

    Context and atmosphere all in one.

    I'll paraphrase a lede I remember that provided atmosphere and context in one fell swoop:

    The swings the Royals were getting off of Roger Clemens Tuesday were coming up as empty as the seats at Kaufman Stadium.
    There were few there to see a freefalling team hit a new low as Clemens struck out 18 in seven innings and Toronto sent Kansas City to its 10th straight loss, 5-1.
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