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Few Washington Wizards Articles I've Writte

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Will637, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Will637

    Will637 New Member

  2. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Welcome to the board.

    The key here is actual reporting. Blogs are all well and good, but what access do you have?

    As far as the writing, there are a lot of little things here that Intro to Journalism should knock out and you can improve in time by reading and learning. Right now, though, the little things are piling up and creating pieces that are difficult to make through.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest


    Thanks for posting in the workshop. We welcome you.

    I skimmed all 3 pieces and have a couple of recommendations:

    - If you're going to write - especially if you intend to write for a living, whether online or in print - you need to master the basics. Right now you need a lot of work on grammar, punctuation, word usage and sentence/story structure. Pick up a copy of the 'Elements of Style,' by Strunk and White. Read it cover to cover, please.

    - One of the ways to become a better writer is to become a better reader. You need to read a great deal more - and a great deal more closely. Teach yourself to read as a writer. Notice how stories are ordered, and how words and punctuation are used. Read every sports story in a major daily newspaper (on paper or online) every day until you get the hang of the language and its application.

    - As Appgrad pointed out, you're writing opinion pieces without necessarily having any firsthand reporting or research to back them up. Opinion is fine, but if you don't have any new information to share with the reader, you need to be fantastically entertaining in your presentation. Right now you're just reprocessing information you took from other sources - radio, TV, other blogs - and presenting it without adding much entertainment value. So ask yourself, as every writer must, for whom am I writing?

    Dig in to the reading; root through the threads here in the workshop for the tips we've given other writers; and keep working at your writing. Good luck.

    Thanks again for sharing your work with us.
  4. Will637

    Will637 New Member

    Oh no, it's not supposed to be a newspaper article/report though. It's more of like a blog or analysis you would read on ESPN, you know. And what do you mean by 'What access do I have?'
  5. Will637

    Will637 New Member

    Which versions? There's like a lot from different years, but I'll plan on going to Barnes and Noble to pick one up.


    What do you mean I'm reprocessing info? All of those articles are an opinion/analysis thing. It wasn't like trying to state a news report.
  6. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Even if you're doing something new with old information, Will, that's still reprocessing information. You're giving analysis based on information that we all have access to and that we can all form our own opinions about. Why should we care what you have to say? (I don't mean that to sound harsh -- that's a question every columnist needs to answer every time they sit down to write a column.)

    Bottom line, columnists still need to report, at least in an ideal world. They can't just riff from their couches, although plenty do. The good ones hustle.

    And the good ones write well, too. I agree with the other guys that you need to start with the basics. I had a really hard time following your writing. Even your posts here -- you have a typo in the thread head and your line above, "It wasn't like trying to state a news report"... Say something like that out loud to yourself and see if it makes any sense.

    If you're serious about this, you have a lot of work to do.

    Doesn't mean it's impossible, but it won't be easy, either.
  7. Will637

    Will637 New Member

    Couldn't you say the same about everybody else that writes a sports article? If the world doesn't care what the writer has to say, then why bother writing it at all? I don't get where you were trying to go with that.

    I don't get it, what do you mean by report? What do you mean when the good ones hustle?

    Can you tell me which version of 'Elements of Style' I should buy?

    Not trying to sound harsh anyway, so don't take my words as if I was sounding mean.
  8. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Just get the latest edition of 'E of S.'

    By "reprocessing," I'm saying that you're writing opinion pieces based on readily available public materials. Materials to which anyone interested in the Wizards already has access themselves. In other words, your opinion is no better or worse or more valuable or more informed or more worthwhile or more entertaining than any other fan's opinion - in part because it contains no new information. There's nothing wrong with that as a hobbyist, but once people realize that your opinion is no better informed than theirs, why would they choose to read it?

    The work of Bill Simmons comes up all the time here. Maybe he's an apt example for you. He doesn't break any news; nor is his raw information any different than that which is available to diehard fans. What made him successful is the entertaining way in which he frames his opinions.

    Right now your opinions aren't doing much informing or entertaining. The best coulmns, paper or electronic, do a lot of both.
  9. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Just to follow up jgmacg's always spot-on analysis...

    The world cares about what a writer has to say when:

    1) He has something new or interesting to say and,

    2) He says it well, thoughtfully, and entertainingly.

    As for what I mean by reporting: getting out there and finding out stuff that nobody knows about, and then telling them about it. That's what reporters do. They tell us things we don't already know about.

    By hustle, I mean getting out there and working hard to find out new, accurate information that they can pass along to their readers.

    That's why reporters go to events and meet people and ask questions -- and columnists should, too.
  10. Will637

    Will637 New Member

    How am I able to find new information to report about the Wizards if I'm not a beat writer or anything. I'm only 14, lol.

    The type of articles I'm trying to write is just about my own thoughts and opinion about the subject, I'm not trying to deliver breaking news or anything, you know.
  11. Will637

    Will637 New Member

    Another thing:

    To anyone else that thinks I'm coming off pissy and rude, trust me, I'm not. I'm a nice person once you get to know me and everything, it's just here, I don't understand clearly the things being suggested toward me and want to make sure I take the right suggestions.
  12. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Will, how are we supposed to know any of that?

    You asked for comments on your writing. We're giving them to you.

    Now, for a 14-year-old, these aren't bad.

    But two things go into a good story: good information and good writing. If you don't have one, you MUST have the other.

    So, now we know why you can't report. Understood.

    But you can learn to write better. So, again, if you're serious about getting into this business, that's where you should start.

    Everything you write -- not just stories, but everything -- you should try to write cleanly and clearly.

    That's the foundation of everything.
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