Writing tips

Poynter Results

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    Want a strong ending to your story? Here are 3 tips

    The start of your story hooks a reader, but the ending is what leaves an impression. It deserves as much attention as your opening.

    Here are three strategies from columnist Leonard Pitts for writing powerful kickers.

    End with a twist. Give readers a surprise, and take them in a direction they didn't expect.

    End with a quote. A great closing quote is rare. But every once in a while, the person you're writing about gives you the words that button up the story. It's almost rude to refuse that gift.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How to develop your voice as a writer

    You probably became aware of a writer's "voice" as a child, listening to stories read out loud or reading them for yourself. How do you develop your own voice as a writer? Lane DeGregory, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times feature writer, suggests these strategies.

    Read other writing. Find the differences between an Associated Press story that uses a "just the facts" inverted pyramid approach and the story from a local news outline with context and perspective.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    Go early, stay late and 9 other tips to expand your writing vocabulary

    Over the next few months, Poynter will publish shortened versions of 21 chapters of the book “Help! for Writers,” by Roy Peter Clark. Published by Little, Brown, the book lists common problems writers face and offers 10 solutions for each of the problems.

    Problem 10: How to expand your limited vocabulary

    Solutions:

  • Article

    'Resist the urge to be clever or cute' and other tips from a writer-turned-reader

    As a reader far more often than a writer these days, I find that I’m bothered by different things than I was when the situation was reversed. A sports section that can’t get its agate correct consistently. A story that fails to include a person’s age when it is clearly relevant. Reporting that lacks adequate geographical references so I can locate an area.

  • Article

    Accept praise for something great in your story – even if you didn’t mean it

    We writers say we want more praise for our work, but, when it comes, we are often not ready to accept it. We are better at absorbing the blows of negative criticism, perhaps because we suffer from the impostor syndrome, that fear that this is the day that we will be found out, exposed as frauds, banished to law school.

    If you are one of those writers who fend off criticism, this essay is for you. As I learned years ago, praise can come at some surprising moments, and for surprising reasons. When it arrives, let it wash over you like a waterfall.

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