Sit Down and Write
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Sit Down and Write

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Adapted from Ch. 1 of James G. Stovall\'s, \"Writing Across the Media,\" 6th edition.

Adapted from Ch. 1 of James G. Stovall\'s, \"Writing Across the Media,\" 6th edition.

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Sit Down and Write Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Sit Down and Write
    • Ch. 1 of “Writing Across the Media,” by James G. Stovall (6th Ed.)
    Graham Garner Writing Across the Media MC 120/299 Fall 2008
  • 2. Writing is Hard Work
    • It requires us to give of ourselves.
    • It demands your total attention.
    • When published, it means putting aside our ego and letting others give feedback.
    • It’s a process.
    • It’s building.
    • Requires reading good writing.
  • 3. What is Good Writing?
    • Efficient. Minimum number of words to make a point.
    • Precise. Words used for their exact meaning.
    • Clear. Leaves no doubt or confusion in reader’s mind.
    • Modest. Doesn’t show off or draw attention to itself.
  • 4. Who Do You Write For?
    • Not yourself.
    • Not for a teacher.
    • Not for a friend.
    • Not for other writers.
    • Write for the masses.
  • 5. How Do You Write for the Masses?
    • Collaborate. Use editors and other writers.
    • Have integrity. Don’t accept inaccuracies or imprecision.
    • Be humble. You can always do better.
  • 6. Know the Tools of the Trade
    • Spelling.
    • Grammar.
    • Vocabulary.
    • You are caretaker of the language.
  • 7. Know the Subject
    • Research.
    • Learn the background.
    • Understand the product.
    • Ask questions of experts.
  • 8. Write it Down
    • Just Do It.
    • Develop a routine.
    • Learn to concentrate.
    • Take lots of notes. Then, prioritize.
    • Take risks.
  • 9. Edit and Rewrite
    • Reread.
      • Can it be clearer?
      • Can it be more precise?
      • Can it be more readable?
    • Edit.
    • Rewrite.
  • 10. Improving: Write Simply
    • Clarity comes from simplicity.
  • 11. Improving: Use Simple Words
    • Stay away from big or complicated words.
    • Impress your reader with the story, not your prose.
  • 12. Improving: Use Simple Sentences
    • Does it always have to be subject-predicate or subject-verb-object?
    • Make it easy to read
  • 13. Improving: Use Fewer Words
    • Next to simplicity is brevity.
    • Be on the hunt for words, phrases and sentences that don’t add substance.
    • Stay away from fancy phrases.
    • Focus your reader on the story, not your writing.
  • 14. Improving: Eliminate Jargon, Clichés and Bureaucratese
    • Jargon: Technical language used in specialized fields.
    • Clichés: Overused words, phrases and clauses.
    • Bureaucratese: It’s lathered writing.
  • 15. Improving: Use Familiar Words
    • You are not a Word-of-the-Day calendar.
    • Don’t be a speed bump in your readers’ path.
    • Worse yet, don’t be a parking lot full of speed bumps.
    • Avoid foreign phrases.
  • 16. Improving: Vary Sentence Type and Length
    • Use all four kinds of sentence structures:
      • Simple
      • Compound
      • Complex
      • Compound-Complex
    • Don’t use inverted sentences (subject at the end).
  • 17. Improving: Pay Attention to Nouns and Verbs
    • Nouns and verbs are the strongest words
    • Make them your foundation, or core, and use all other word types to build on or around them.
    • A good verb offers both action and description.
  • 18. Improving: Transitions
    • They tie together what you mean.
    • Don’t create stops or surprises.
    • Keep the train rolling.
  • 19. Differences in Writing for Mass Media
    • Subject Matter. There is a wider variety.
    • Purpose. It’s threefold — inform, entertain, persuade.
    • Audience. Much broader demographic.
    • Circumstances of the Writing. More collaboration, more deadlines, and writing amongst other writers.
  • 20. Becoming a Professional
    • Versatility.
    • News writing: Inverted pyramid.
    • Broadcast writing: dramatic unity.
    • Advertising copy: Facility with language for persuasive effect.
    • Public relations: all above, plus good letter writing.
    • Web: Nonlinear hypertext, headlines, subheads, summaries.
  • 21. Text and Images
    • Integrate graphics and text, especially on the Web.
    • Leonardo da Vinci.
    • Dan Brown novel in other editions; David McCulloch’s 1776.
  • 22. Web Sites to Visit
    • American Society of Journalists and Authors: www.asja.org
    • American Society of Newspaper Editors: www.asne.org
    • Power of Words: www.projo.com/words
    • Poynter’s Online “Fifty Writing Tools”: www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&aid=103943
    • Writers Write: The Write Resource: www.writerswrite.com