Writing

Poynter Results

  • Article

    Yes, Virginia, it is okay for a writer to play with the form

    Editor's note: This story was first published on Dec. 25, 2014. It's premise is especially topical in this year of "fake news," so we decided to reprise it again.

    As a boy, my favorite story genre was the cowboy movie.  As I got a little older, I left Hopalong Cassidy behind in favor of parodies of cowboy movies, the kind of thing Mad magazine produced or Mel Brooks perfected in Blazing Saddles.

  • Storytelling

    Article

    7 ideas for writing blog posts

    Even the best writers struggle from time to time in generating story ideas. This can be especially tricky for bloggers, who want to produce a steady flow of content for their audience. Here are some different types of posts you can produce:

    The Point-Counterpoint

  • Storytelling

    Article

    How to trim wordiness in your writing

    Writers often use more words than they need. While wordiness or redundancy is not “wrong” in a grammatical sense, too many unnecessary words could slow readers down and distract them. Even worse, readers could get frustrated by your writing and move on to something else. 

    Wordiness lurks in several places. You can find redundancy in adjectives and phrases that repeat information a noun already conveys. For example:

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    4 'breath test' questions to diagnose your story leads

    The first words of any story are critical. With that precious beginning, you offer your audience a promise that your story is worth their time. That’s the heavy-duty job of your lead.

    Occasionally leads will seem to magically fly onto the computer screen. But, more often, they are the product of hard work of writing and revising. Use the “breath test” to diagnose whether your efforts will pay off with clear, engaging copy.

    Read your lead aloud and ask yourself these questions:

  • Storytelling

    Article

    7 ways to avoid jargon in your writing

    Anyone who has tried to read a legal document or a technical manual understands how jargon, clutter, numbers and acronyms can jumble together, undercutting meaning and frustrating even the avid reader.

    Writers must avoid the trap of describing complex issues in complicated prose. Clarity starts with a clear understanding of the topic you are writing about. Here are some other strategies for turning complicated facts into clear language for your audience.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    9 ways to end your stories

    There are endless ways to end stories, but few hard and fast rules. Yet every writer knows that the story must reach a satisfying conclusion.

    Here are a handful of strategies on which you can rely.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    2 types of leads that get right to the news

    Whether you're reporting news or telling a story, you know you have to entice your audience instantly. There are essentially two types of leads for any story: direct and delayed. One gets to the point immediately, while the other may take awhile. But each type responds to the central interest: "Tell me the news" or "Tell me a story."

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How to avoid clichés in your writing

    Roy Peter Clark writes, "Clichés can multiply and take over your story like text-eating bacteria."

    Playing your cards close to your vest…whistling past the graveyard…minding your p’s and q’s…facing the music…toeing the line…putting your nose to the grindstone…swimming against the tide…

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