ADVERTISEMENT

Writing

NEWS

How to write stronger sentences with fewer adverbs

Use adverbs sparingly. At their best, they spice up a verb or adjective. At their worst, they express a meaning already contained in the sentence: The blast completely destroyed the church office. The cheerleader gyrated wildly before the screaming fans. The accident totally severed the boy's arm. The spy peered furtively through the bushes. Consider the effect of deleting the … Read More
NEWS

How to provide context when writing about numbers

Numbers crop up in media stories in the most unexpected places. Your goal is to provide context and the story behind the numbers. Here's how you can write about two terms — risk and rate — accurately and ethically. A rate compares quantities that are measured in different units: for example, an amount or frequency over time or other unit. Read More
NEWS

8 ways to write shorter stories

Do you feel (or your readers) feel as though your stories drag on too long? Do you struggle getting to the point of the story? Story length is a function of focus. When you (or your editor or teacher) has a keen understanding of the what the story is about, it will be easier to revise your work. Here are … Read More
NEWS

9 ways to conquer writer's block

In the writing process, there will be a time when you get stuck and can't write. It may be anxiety, a boring topic, self-criticism or something else that keep you from getting words on paper (or screen). To become a more fluent writer, try these strategies: Trust your hands. Forget your brain for a while, and let your fingers do … Read More
NEWS

How to choose between 'that' and 'which' in your writing

The rules of grammar can seem complicated and rigid, but they will help you keep your writing clear and tell a story effectively. When the language is muddled, readers may get confused and quit reading. Here are guidelines for choosing between that and which in a sentence. The rule: Use which for clauses that offer incidental information; use that for … Read More
NEWS

Which is best? Who or whom?

The rules of grammar can seem complicated and rigid, but they will help you keep your writing clear and tell a story effectively. When the language is muddled, readers may get confused and have trouble understanding your story. Even worse, they may quit reading. Here's some help when you are unsure whether to use who or whom in a sentence. Read More
NEWS

How the basics of storytelling can help you cover a big event

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, … Read More
NEWS

10 ways to generate story ideas

The best writers see a world full of story ideas. They typically have more ideas than they can put into practice. That’s a good problem to have. Here are some ways you can generate your own story ideas rather than rely on the ideas of editors, producers or teachers. Break your routine. Drive to work or school a different way. Read More
NEWS

How to power your writing with active and passive verbs

The "voice" of verbs (active or passive) is different than the "tense" of verbs.  Tense defines action within time, when the verb happens. Voice defines the relationship between subject and verb, who does what. Active, passive and "to be" verbs have different effects for the reader or listener. The best writers choose between active and passive to powerful effect. Here's … Read More
NEWS

6 scribes from The New York Times who 'write good'

Donald Trump had this to say as part of his critique of The New York Times: "They don’t write good. They have people over there…they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good." As a reader of the Times for more than a half-century, I would say that there are days on which Mr. Trump’s review would … Read More
NEWS

How to focus on the people in every story

The lead of a story makes a promise to the reader of good things to come. The classic journalism device of asking five W's (who, what, where, when, why), an H (how) and an SW (so what) helps you analyze, organize and present the beginning of a news story. Let's start with "who" to discover the newsworthy elements of your … Read More
NEWS

Want a lesson in focusing your writing? Read this hole-in-one lead

I stood in front of 150 reading and writing teachers on Friday trying to describe the writing process. On a chart pad I drew a familiar model, one I’ve discussed countless times since I learned it from writing coach Donald Murray more than 30 years ago. Conceive Collect Focus Select Order Draft Revise … Read More
NEWS

8 steps to revising your writing

To revise your writing, you need to see it through the eyes of a reader — a stranger to the text instead of the creator. Here's one recipe for revising your work. Print out your draft. The first step in achieving distance is to change the medium. You may see words on a page differently than those on a computer … Read More
NEWS

Use your X-ray vision to learn from other writers

One way writers learn from stories is to use their X-ray vision. (After all, Superman was also a newspaper reporter.) X-ray reading helps you see through the text of the story to view the machinery of grammar, language, syntax and rhetoric, the gears of making meaning, the hardware of the trade. Here are some X-ray reading tricks offered by writers: … Read More
ADVERTISEMENT