Writing to Win: Telling a story readers want to read

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Photo by; Ben Gray, altered with permission of Creative Common License

10708548_1702268249998847_2429964921550846001_o[1]Note: This is one of several blog posts written by Shorthorn staffers about the conferences or training they attended. Today’s blog post written by reporter Kevin Cushingberry, Jr. about what he learned during the College Media Association conference in Philadelphia.

The 2014 CMA/ACP Convention in Philadelphia was a BLAST! Not only did the The Shorthorn walk away from Philly with awards, We walked away with IDEAS! Ideas brought about in workshops, keynotes, and conversations over cheesesteaks. 

The first workshop I attended was the Writing to Win workshop with David Simpson. director of student media at Georgia Southern University. The Writing to Win workshop was one of those workshops that laid out ways to improve your writing. Here are some of the notes I took from it.

The little details are key. Descriptions instantly make your writing better. The girl riding the bike can become the blonde third grader with a red blouse who’s struggling to eat strawberry ice cream as it drips on her bight pink Mongoose mountain bike as she rides down Mockingbird Lane to visit her best friend Susie who borrowed her lime green Chuck Taylor’s. While that may be a drastic example, here is the jist; You are the recorder, everything you hear can be written. You are the camera, everything you see can be written. Using your senses in order to note details is key.

If you’re thinking, “Blonde girl on a bright pink bike with lime green shoes, that sounds like a novel.” You’re right. Simpson posed the question could a narrative appear in your paper? Simpson said rather than telling the regular story in the regular way, let’s do something people will actually read.

Don’t write what you think your editors want you to write. Write what you want to write. He’s talking about alternative storytelling. Things like long-form storytelling that you would usually see in a magazine. While these ideas may not seemingly be appropriate, do we always have to be?

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