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Feedback appreciated for link to my latest story for The Shelbyville News

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Patrick Murphy, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. I don't usually post my stories on here for others to read, but I felt like I needed to do it.

    I wrote one of my last sports stories for The Shelbyville News, a news organization I have been interning this semester. This story was about Karl "Chuck" Roesler who graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1978. His story is very interesting and I hope you guys like it too! :)

    Link to story: The Shelbyville News - shelbynews.com

    PS: If there is any sports organization needing a talented sports journalist, please send me a message on here or to my email address listed below.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  2. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Hi, Patrick. Thanks for posting. This looks a lot like my early-career stories.

    -- A major element that the story is missing is a nut graf. Looks like this is a profile with no time-sensitive news hook. That means you need to tell me why I give a crap about Chuck Roesler. Write down one or two sentences why I should care about this story. That's your "so what." Take that and place it very high in the story, potentially at the top.

    My attempt: Shelbyville High School alum Chuck Roesler battled injuries through a football career that took him to Notre Dame and a hair's breadth away from the NFL. Now, he's teaching kids more than just blocking and tackling at the National Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    -- Watch your language: Instead of saying he knew his football career was over, say he was certain it was over. It wasn't over, so he can't "know" something that didn't come to pass, he was just sure of something that didn't end up happening. ... Avoid "career" to describe the extracurricular activities of a middle or high school student, no matter how good s/he is. ... Remove every instance of "only," "however," and "but" from every story you write. Then add back the ones that are absolutely necessary.

    -- The structure gets into a setup-quote-setup-quote-setup-quote rhythm at the end. That's a symptom of a bloated story. (Be wary of trying to shoehorn in details, especially with the sentiment that you're writing for your source. You're writing for your readers, and their time is more valuable to you.) Cut that part, and see how the story looks. If you need to fit a minimum word count, paraphrase at least 50% of them and see if you can fit that information somewhere else in the story.

    -- This is an 1,100 word story. Edit it down to 500, then 300. It's good practice.

    I hope this helps. Keep hustling, and please swing on back with your next story!

    -- Josh
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