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Gamers are my weakness...please help

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by DGRollins, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    Written last night:

    The Six Nations Rebels opened the 2007 Ontario Lacrosse Association season in style says head coach Stew Monture. Well, at least half the team anyway.

    “I think the score shows it,” he said. “Our D played really well, but our O didn’t hold up their end.”

    The Rebels were doubled-up 8-4 by the Orangeville Northman last night at the Gaylord Powless arena in Ohsweken. It was the opening night of action on the OLA junior B schedule.

    Orangeville were runners-up in 2006, losing the Founders Cup final to the Oakville Buzz. Monture says he was glad that the Rebels drew such a tough opponent to start the year.

    “I’d rather get to see what we have to do to get to where we want then start with one of the weak teams,” he said. “We have the horses, we just have to get it done.”

    It was an evenly played game, with Six Nations getting plenty of shots on target. The difference in the game was likely Orangeville goaltender Andy Sumka, who made several big stops in tight.

    Sumka was particularly strong during a Rebels’ two-man advantage late in the second period.

    “He was doing a good job at taking away the top of the net,” Monture said. “I was telling the guys to shot low, but they kept shooting it into him.”

    Transition player Cam Sault was one of several players singled out by Monture for his hard work on the night.

    Sault says the game was a learning experience.

    “I think we outplayed them,” he said. “We just couldn’t score.

    “I had two or three really good chances myself and I just couldn’t put it in. It’s almost like you know what to do, but you just can’t get it done.”

    The game was played in front of about 350 fans. Two factors likely drew the attendance down from typical numbers—it was the first nice day of spring and the Buffalo Sabers were in playoff action.

    The game marked the introduction of the new floor at the Gaylord Powless arena. It appeared to be an improvement over the previous floor, which had several uneven patches.

    The Rebels don’t have a lot of time to dwell on the loss. They are back in action Sunday in Hamilton.
  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member


    First of all, thanks for posting your stuff. I'll offer some general tips that I hope you'll find helpful.

    I feel like the attribution in your lead makes the first paragraph feel somewhat awkward. To be honest, when I read the first sentence, at first, I wondered if this was a story you had to write after talking to the coach on the phone because it was an away game.

    The Six Nations Rebels opened the 2007 Ontario Lacrosse Association season in style says head coach Stew Monture.Well, at least half the team anyway.

    After reading the rest of the story a couple times, I think what it lacks is your observations. Not in a first person sense, but as a reporter who witnessed the event. Remember, as a reporter, you're the eyes and ears for people interested in the event but could not be there, or want some insight into what happened that they couldn't get from the stands or on television. The Rebels "opening their season in style" is a cliche'. But let's put that aside for a second. As the reporter, you can show us, the readers, what you saw without attributing it to Stew Monture.

    What if, it basic terms, your lead went more like this:

    I'd refrain, especially when you're still trying to master the standard format of a gamer, from using a quote before the final score. I think getting the score up a little higher, and making the lead about your observations and not the coach's, helps sharpen it a bit.

    Now that we've got what happened, and why, the rest of your gamer should be a mixture of explaining how it unfolded and supporting "the why." Let's look at this paragraph real quick:

    "Plenty" is a weak modifier. How many shots? Same thing is true of "several big stops." How many saves did he have? Do they have stats at the game? You'll want to get in the habit of keeping your own even if they do have stats for you. That's a good way to help explain what happened. "Plenty" could me 80 shots, and it could mean 12 shots. I don't know.

    Same thing is true of Cam Sault. What did he do that would be considered "hard work"? Did he scoop up a lot of ground balls? Did he score any goals? Did he play good defense? Also, what position does he play? A lot of times, when people start out writing gamers, they focus too much on play-by-play. This is the opposite. This has no play-by-play. Even a sentence as simple as the one below (in italics after yours) can help give your readers a picture of what you're trying to do.

    Think about this too: Even though this is written for an audience of Rebels fans/readers, it's still also the historic record (in some ways) of What Happened. So ... who scored for the Northman? Did eight different guys score a goal? Did one guy have all eight? (Doubtful, since you say Six Nations played strong defense.) Did two guys have four? Who had goals for the Rebels? Some of that may be in the agate or the box, but it still needs to be in the story.

    Lastly, when I was learning how to write game stories, even if I was writing specifically for a local audience, I tried to talk to someone from both teams. Always. Did you try to talk to someone from the Rebels? Sumka perhaps? You'll be amazed at what perspective you can get that way. Maybe the two sides saw things completely different. Or, maybe Sumka couldn't understand either why the Rebels kept shooting high. Maybe that was in the scouting report.

    Hope some of that helps. You've got some work to do, but you'll get there with more experience. Thanks again for posting.
  3. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    Gamers are difficult. Try to lead off with a scene from the game that made a really big impression on your mind. Don't try to generalize too much in the story, the reader will be thrown off.
  4. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Below is my latest effort. A couple things:

    1) - I didn't interview anyone from the opposing team. I agree that I should have. In this case, it was a time thing--they were gone after I finished with the home team. In future...

    2) - The lack of stats...I have to shoot photos as well, which makes it difficult to track shots, loose balls etc. Sadly, the league doesn't provide detailed stats either. Does anyone that shoots and reports have a suggestion on how to get better stats...

    Other than that...have at at. When you have time, of course

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