1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Help me keep this from getting too sappy

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Sam Waller, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Sam Waller

    Sam Waller New Member

    I'm working on a story that has many good angles, but I'm trying to keep it from becoming something you'd see in Guideposts and would like some input.

    A girl on our local junior college rodeo team was involved in a wreck last weekend on the way home from competing up north -- pickup hit a patch of ice, horse trailer jackknifed, came loose and rolled over. The girl came through relatively unharmed and is expected to compete this weekend, but one horse, her backup, was killed. The horse she rode most of the time suffered severe leg injuries and will probably survive, but may never be ridden again (at least in competition).

    There are only two rodeos left on the schedule and this girl isn't in contention to qualify for the CNFR, but she wants her to finish the season. To make that possible, one of her aunts is providing a horse for the next two weeks.

    The aunt happens to be Kay Blandford, one of THE big names in professional barrel racing. The horse just happens to be the one on which Blandford won $100,000 in one weekend earlier this year.

    Another element is that the girl survived cancer in grade school (I found a Make A Wish story on her in our archives), but has competed regularly for at least the last eight or nine years.

    Without slighting traumatic events like a wreck 200 miles from home or her battle against cancer, how would you squeeze all this into the limited space I'll get for this?
  2. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    I'd follow the Jimmy Breslin on JFK's funeral rule: Don't get too broad.
    Breslin did the story on the gravedigger at Arlington National Cemetery when they buried Kennedy.
    I'd mention the cancer, but don't emphasize it. Were I writing it, I'd focus on the events of the last week, but above all else, for God's sake, don't turn it into a Guideposts story. Not a lot of writers can make a story like this better, but a lot can make it worst. Just step out of the way and let the story this dramatic tell itself.
    At least, that's what I'd do.
  3. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Think I might lead with the aunt providing the $100,000 horse, tracing the accident etc...the cancer is not a big element here if you mention it at all
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'll echo the above.

    Focus, focus, focus.

    If you are throwing good angles out, you should be left with something great.
  5. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I had to do a story 3 years ago about a deaf football player whose cousin was killed in a drive-by.

    The cousin got buried.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    That would seem the appropriate thing, at any rate.
  7. anyone have a copy of the breslin story?
  8. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    It's in the book "Art of Fact", a collection of appreciation for literary non-fiction writers, and can be found at your library. Or Barnes and Noble.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    This may sound a little Gary Smith-ian, but try telling it from the horse's perspective. You are a champion steed preparing for perhaps the most important races of your career.
    It may sound hokey, but it may help you get the mind-set you are looking for. Good luck.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    And then you get in a car wreck and have to watch from the sidelines?
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    No, the new horse. What if the Horse Whisperer was actually a horse?
  12. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    How about Joe Torre being sent to manage the last two games of the season for Steinbrenner's gradnson's Little League team?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page