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Feedback on a deadline boxing story

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by mikecoppinger, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. mikecoppinger

    mikecoppinger New Member

    I wrote this story on deadline for USA Today on the HBO fight on Saturday.

    I'm a young writer (26) and feel like I'm improving but know I can always do better.

    Would love some blunt criticism. I wrote this on a pretty strict deadline, filed about 30 minutes after the fight.

    Thanks in advance for the feedback.


  2. ringer

    ringer Active Member

    Okay, here's a blunt assessment of the opening.

    I didn't read the headline -- just the piece -- and it took me thee paragraphs to figure out whether Ward had won.

    1st graf you said he gave a "Career-defining performance" (sounds like he won)
    2nd graf you say "It's not that Ward won" (okay, that means he lost)
    Next sentence: "He always finds a way to win" (well, you just said he didn't win)
    3rd graf says he did win - stopping his opponent in the 10th. (what the hell?)
    You could have eliminated all confusion if you'd simply said: Ward gave a scintillating performance en route to at 10th round stoppage to retain his X title and defeat Chad Dawson...

    Then, in the 5th graf, I'm not at all persuaded (based on what you'd just written) that a 10th round stoppage makes Ward the top "practitioner" (awkward word choice) of boxing today, no less CEMENTED his status as such. Didn't you just say in the lead that his performance "surprised everyone?" It might have helped your case to mention higher up that Ward remained undefeated in 26 fights. (Still, 26 isn't a lot. That's about half of what Pacquiao's got. You really want to elevate Ward that high?)

    Just some thoughts.

    For the future: If you're on a tight deadline, you can't go wrong by reverting to AP style. Get the facts up there and analyze later. And if you're going to analyze, then have some data ready so you can put the bout in perspective with solid facts.

    You know how to describe a fight, clearly. And you got some good quotes. Just keep the framework tight and - above all - logical.

    Hope that helps. I look forward to reading more.
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