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Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by ouipa, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. ouipa

    ouipa Member

    Hey guys. I've been talking about story length lately, so here's some evidence. This one's about 14-16 inches, I believe. Can't remember.

    All advice is greatly appreciated. I don't get a lot of feedback on my gamers. Thanks!

  2. I don't really do this, but considering we're the same age, I'll take a shot. I copied and pasted the story and added notes to it.

    Special to the Messenger

    ALBANY — Nelsonville-York and Alexander put their respective fates in the hands of their workhorses in their final game Friday night — one final chance for them to lead their teams to victory. Unfortunately, in a hard-fought battle, only one team could come out on top.
    I counted three "their's" in the first sentence. Need some variance. Also, leave out "unfortunately." You don't care who wins.

    The Buckeyes handed their season — and title hopes — to sophomore running back Derek Arnold and triumphed in a passionate contest, 26-13.
    Need a change of works, maybe "put their season -- and title hopes -- on sophomore ...

    With Belpre’s 42-12 loss to Meigs Friday, the victory gave the Buckeyes (6-4, 4-1 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio) a share of first place in the TVC-Ohio, it’s (its) fifth straight division title.

    “We learned about the Belpre score at halftime,” said Nelsonville-York head coach Dave Boston. “Our kids had something to play for. We came out and played a little softly in the second half, but we got it done.”

    Nelsonville-York had never lost to Alexander in its 30-plus matchups, but it had too much to play for to take this game for granted(said who?). It knew that if it took care of business in Albany and Belpre lost to Meigs, it would keep its division title.

    So Nelsonville-York handed the ball to Arnold, who rewarded his team’s trust with 154 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Might move this further up

    “Our running game was real effective tonight,” Boston said. “Arnold ran the ball real well, and we blocked a little better tonight than we have in the past. It was a great offensive performance for us tonight.”

    But Alexander (3-7, 1-4 TVC-Ohio) never once looked like a team with nothing to play for (Opinion again). The Spartans and its seniors wanted to spoil Nelsonville-York’s season. They wanted to be the team to finally beat the Buckeyes.

    Alexander then turned to senior running back Adam McCarty, who, unlike Arnold, was putting on his team’s uniform for the last time in his career. Alexander never let up on its strategy, no matter what the scoreboard read, and McCarty finished with 152 yards on 43 carries and one touchdown, setting the school single-season record for rushing yards.

    “(McCarty) was incredible,” said Alexander head coach Sean Arno. “He set the school record today. That’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to set our goals a little higher, and Adam took the challenge.”
    Can leave out the "He set the school record today ... already said that

    McCarty also blocked a punt late in the third quarter that led to Alexander’s first touchdown and a 14-7 deficit.

    But on the ensuing kickoff, Nelsonville-York’s Josh Dickerson returned the ball 39 yards. Then, on the next play, Arnold leaped and sprinted through a Spartan blitz for a 41-yard touchdown.

    “The line just came through and busted me a hole, and I ran through it,” Arnold said. “That was a huge play, because I think if we hadn’t scored there, Alexander would have come back fighting. I knew we had to win this game to win the TVC.”

    The game came down to the fact that a workhorse can only carry a team so far by himself. While Alexander gave a passionate team effort(opinion again), Nelsonville-York simply had too much balance and made more plays when it mattered most. The Spartans went 2-for-6 on fourth downs and 5-for-14 on third downs in the game.

    Most of Alexander’s troubles, however, stemmed from a tough Nelsonville-York defense that keyed on McCarty for most of the game, forcing the Spartans to pass, unsuccessfully, in tough situations.

    “McCarty’s a good back, and we felt that our defense was very solid,” Boston said. “We haven’t given up too many 100-yard rushing performances to any backs this year. He’s a good back, but our kids stepped up and did a nice job.”

    It all resulted in two contrasting scenes at Spartan Field after the game. While the Buckeyes marched off to the locker room, chanting and cheering, the Spartans gathered in a huddle, exchanging hugs, handshakes and tears.

    Some left with a title. Some left with one last chance lost.
    You don't need this graf. Rearrange your transition in the graf above to start with the Spartans and end with the Buckeyes to transition into the final quote

    “We believed in ourselves,” McCarty said. “We knew we could beat them if we came out to play. Things just didn’t go our way. That’s how football goes. We just needed to believe in ourselves and each other, and that’s all we needed.”

    But even though the lights have gone dark over Spartan Field for the last Friday night in 2007, as they have all over the area, they will come on again in 10 months. With them will come a new group of players, a new group of seniors, and a new opportunity.

    should have left this graf out. the quote would have ended it nicely. you're inserting yourself in the story again
  3. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting it, Ian.

    Your lede has two problems with it: 1) It could have been written before the game. 2) It goes in two different directions. After the first sentence, I was expecting a running-back duel or something, but then it goes to the "final game" lede and I'm lost.

    Still, you write passionately without many ticky-tacky mistakes. Definitely a good way to start out.
  4. ouipa

    ouipa Member

    Thanks for the responses, guys. The two major complaints I get from critics is that I either write too long or overwrite (insert myself in the story too much). I've been trying to correct that, but it's hard as hell to not do that.

    I always try to make a story distinct from my other stories by injecting myself into it in some way. I'm sure that's a bad idea, but that's just me trying to identify myself, I guess. Still, that doesn't make it good.

    How would you guys suggest me writing this? Like you said, it feels like this story needs to be more in the moment; it feels like it could have been written before the game.
  5. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    It seems to me that you have an idea of what you are going to write on when you go to do your interviews and then you are forcing the issue too much.

    Of course, no matter what you have an idea, but if the quotes don't pan out then you may have to go a different direction. I try not to write my lede or even think about it until after my interviews so that I can shape it based on my quotes.

    As far as this story, I would have written it from the angle of the quote from the coach saying they found out at halftime that the other team lost and all they had to do was win to make it five consecutive district titles.

    That seemed interesting to me. Most coaches wouldn't even tell their kids the final of the other game, but apparently they all knew.
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