Great writers get ready for the big story, even if they don't quite know what the story will be.  They report and report and research and then report some more. They expect the unexpected. And then they write powerful stories.

Here are some tactics to guide you on the big story.

  • Stick with the basics of telling a story: beginning, middle and end.
  • What happened?
  • What did it look like, sound like, feel like?
  • Who said what?
  • Who did what?
  • Why does it matter?
  • What's the point? Why is this story being told? What does it say about life, about the world, about the times we live in?
  • Use lots of short sentences, active verbs, clear metaphors and vivid details.

Taken from The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use, a self-directed course by Roy Peter Clark at Poynter NewsU.

Take the full course

Have you missed a Coffee Break Course? Here's our complete lineup.