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Lede for Sunday story, trying something different

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by TyWebb, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I'm messing around with the lede for a story Sunday about Falcons training camp. I might or might not use it. Let me know what you think.

    It is the Atlanta Falcons' version of CBS's "Survivor." It is also known as training camp.
    Of the 90 players on the Falcons' roster as of Wedenesday, only 53 will still have a spot when the team heads to Minnesota Sept. 9 for the season opener.
    The process of narrowing that list down began when training camp at Flowery Branch opened. There are those that are shoe-ins, but others are fighting to keep their torches lit during the two-a-day practices.
    If a player finds himself being called into the coaches office, not only is his name erased from the roster, he is asked to pack up and leave the apartments behind the Falcons' three practice fields.
    "Once you are cut or waived, you are gone," said a Falcons representative.

    I usually try and keep pop culture references out of my stories, but I thought it kind of worked here. Just messing around with something different.
    Be gentle. Screw that. Be harsh.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Ty -

    Thanks for posting.

    I think the narrative/cultural value of a casual 'Survivor' reference at this late date is pretty well nil, and deadens the very idea you're trying to convey. If you want a reference to an unforgiving and violent island hierarchy, I'd rather see you reach for "Lord of the Flies."

    That said, I'm not sure you need a comparative of any kind to convey the incredible heartlessness of a pro football camp.

    As a general tip to younger writers, I'd advise that the real challenge is to describe the thing itself - in this case an NFL camp - rather than find an easy, and usually incomplete, comparison to something else.
  3. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    As a general tip to younger writers, I'd advise that the real challenge is to describe the thing itself - in this case an NFL camp - rather than find an easy, and usually incomplete, comparison to something else.

    Amen to that! I just saw a lede about summer football two-a-days and compared to Junction Boys. Junction Boys! That move sucked!

    Anyway, give me something else that pulls me in to the story about the Falcons training camp. Can you get into a meeting where a guy gets cut? Can you talk to someone who has been cut before about what that feels like.

    Put us in that room, then go from there.

    And that brings us to a stronger lede quote... the one you have, especially since it's from "a Falcons representative" just doesn't have any oomph.

    Thanks for posting.
  4. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    I cannot stand pop culture leads.

    I like dawg's suggestion. Bring your overall scope more into focus and details, details.
  5. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. Yeah, I know, I'm not a fan of putting pop culture in my stories at all, let alone the lede. But the way some guys were talking, it sounded like when you were waived, you were getting kicked off a reality tv show. So I tried going with that, unsuccessfully, as it sounds.

    The problem I'm facing is no one really wants to talk about the cutthroat aspect of camp, at least not on the record. And trying to get a hold of someone that has been cut is more difficult than I imagined. Still going after it though.
  6. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Talked to some more people and one thing that is kind of a constant thread through it is that the player is asked to "bring your playbook" to the meeting. I want to work that into the lede, or base the whole lede off it. Any thoughts? On the right track here?

    [in other words, write my lede for me ... please! just kidding]
  7. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    "Bring your playbook," is much better thought for a lede. Try to think of other instances in which people are asked to assist in their own firing or execution or banishment. Also, try to think in broader human terms about the emotions associated with the fear of failure and failure itself; and the idea that most of these guys have had nothing but success until now. Fellas who started on their championship college teams get cut in the NFL all the time. For many of them it's the first failure they've ever experienced.

    Ask as well about "the Turk."
  8. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Off topic, but I wonder what happens if you refuse to bring your playbook? What can they do to you? You're already fired.
  9. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    My understading: the playbooks are like the president's nuclear codes. They will not leave the training camp, even if law enforcement has to be called in.
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