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Padding a feature on purpose (a little trick)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WaylonJennings, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Anyone ever tried this?

    You have a big long feature set to run. You write it to 60, hoping to get 50 in.

    The thinking is that every single editor in the world impulsively wants to cut a long story - they can't help themselves. No matter how tight you write it. No matter how much every word contributes. They see 40 inches, they want it to be 30. They see 50, they want 40.

    So the thought here is that if you want to get a 50-inch story into the paper, don't write a 50-inch story. Write 60 inches with 10 you know you'll take out.

    Then you'll be able to get your real 50-inch story in, the editor thinks he made his writer self-edit. Everybody's happy.
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Yes, but what if they take the wrong 10 out?
  3. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    If you put the 10 inches near the end in which you want cut, wouldn't it look bad on you anyway for turning in that slop?
  4. How about you just concentrate on making every inch so good it can't be cut. That way, you'e not turning in shit for writing and your editor doesn't have to hack the shit out of it to make it good.

    I turn in what I believe is a good story. If an editor wants to cut, trim it, slash it then that's his job. Once you've done this long enough, you'll find that some wars aren't worth fighting, especially every story you write. But what you will really find is that good editors can be your best friend and make you look better than you are. I trust my editors. They can do whatever they want to my stories.
  5. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    This thread makes me lucky to have an editor who has never told me "cut this" just because it's "too big."

    Or, as Huckleberry suggest, maybe I just write so tight that it can't be cut. Nah, probably the former.
  6. I wasn't saying write tight. I was saying write it like it should be written. Do your best and let your editors worry about the rest. That's what I try to do, and I trust my editors completely.

    My editors rarely cut my stories, and usually only do when space becomes a factor. More importantly, they do make changes and alterations that sometimes spice it up a little where I didn't use a word they felt was more appropriate.

    To be honest, I know I'm not perfect, and I'm perfectly content having someone double-check my stories and make them better. Editors can be your best friend if you let them.
  7. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I really don't see a reason to care about inch count, unless I'm getting paid by the inch. If what's said in 60 inches can be said in 50, who cares?
  8. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Write the best story possible and none of it will get cut.
  9. As far as I know, my paper has NEVER run a 50-inch story on anything.
    That seems a bit overboard to me.
    I guess if you get a chance to write the lifetime story of a Lance Armstrong or a Michael Jordan or something, but otherwise, wow.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    How about you talk to the editor before you start writing and get a ballpark figure on the length. If he says 40-45 inches, you write 40-45 inmches.
    That would be the professional way to do things instead of just shitting out 60" in hopes that 50 will make it.
  11. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Question Waylon... Would you actually do what you propsed here?
  12. I always talk to my editor about length ahead of time on big stories.

    That being said, I don't think there's anything wrong with having an idea of what can be cut, if need be.
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