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Unit 9 Writing The Story
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Unit 9 Writing The Story

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  • 1.
    • Choosing the Style
      • News stories: presenting facts in a succinct way and by using the inverted pyramid style of writing.
      • Feature writing: more common to yearbooks, tends to be entertaining and descriptive. Rely on details and colorful writing
  • 2.
    • Two primary parts to a story:
      • The LEAD: hooks the reader without giving away all the facts
      • The BODY: complete with transitions, should expand the subject and support the lead with additional information.
      • For feature writing: The CONCLUSION: brings the reader back around to the original thought and makes the story circular.
  • 3.
    • The lead can make or break a copy.
    • All important facts are in the lead paragraph. (who, what, where, when, why and how)
    • Feature leads make take more than one paragraph because it is more descriptive, but avoid burying with 5ws and H deep in the story.
  • 4.
    • Ask yourself what is important or unique about the event.
    • Look at the ordinary in a new way and turn it into a memory-maker.
    • Make it exciting, humorous, dramatic, serious or narrative – must fit the mood of the story or event.
  • 5.
    • Narrative: storytelling beginning, informal, simple and direct.
      • Sample:
      • It’s 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Six exhausted yearbook staff members and their addviser lay sprawled across chairs and tables. All they had to do was think of one more headline that in effect said, “We can go home.”
  • 6.
    • Descriptive: use detail to recreate a scene or event. Be careful about using trite phrases, cliches, passive verbs and too much description. Pick an unusual angle and let it tell the story.
      • Sample:
      • “ Green, go fast, Yellow, go faster. Red, (darn) stop.
      • It’s the corner of Franklin and Reed Streets and there’s a game of traffic roulette going on. This bottleneck just outside the high school is a game of chance and you hardly ever get lucky.”
  • 7.
    • Quotation: use sparingly. Showcases an outstanding direct quote which is strong enough to support the tone and theme of the story.
      • Sample
      • “ It’s a simple matter of marketing, the sales representative said. “You just have to create a need for Gummi worms and your fund-raising campaign is all set. It’s simple marketing.”
  • 8.
    • Summary: Closely resembles the standard news lead because it pulls the entire story in a nutshell. Avoid the tendency to be dry by giving only the 5Ws and H. Weave some creativity into the summation.
      • Sample
      • “ Keeping the traditional bonfire burning past midnight on the night before homecoming wasn’t too breezy this year. High winds knocked over the fire and it fizzled by 10:30 p.m.”
  • 9.
    • Teaser: By directing the reader through a series of partial clues about the story, interest can be created with this type of lead.
      • Sample
      • “ The room was filled with the usual before-class chatter and shuffling. And even though she sat in the middle of the activity, one girl was not part of any conversation.
      • Having lived through countless wars and changes in government, Korean-born Su Kim found the language barrier she faced in her new home very frightening.”
  • 10.
    • Add credibility and life to a story.
    • You use sources because they know the subject you’re writing about.
    • Putting their words in a story makes writing easier and reading more entertaining.
  • 11.
    • Direct quotes: written in the person’s exact words and punctuated with quotation marks.
      • Sample
      • “ I was so embarrassed when my friends cheered as I got my diploma,” Susan Anderson said. “I wanted to choke them all.”
  • 12.
    • Indirect quotes: paraphrased by the writer.
      • Sample
      • Susan Anderson’s moment of glory was also one of embarrassment, she said. Her friends’ congratulations rang out at the moment she received her diploma.
  • 13.
    • Partial quotes: are written using a combination of direct and indirect forms.
      • Sample
      • Family and friends also had an impact on graduates. Because their enthusiastic cheers embarrassed Susan Anderson, she “wanted to choke them all.”
  • 14.
    • Every quote must be attributed to the speaker whether it’s direct or indirect or partial.
    • Quotation marks are used with direct quotes.
      • Sample
      • “ The victory dance was a blast,” mary Jones, danced coordinator, said.
  • 15.
    • If a quote goes for more than one paragraph, attribute the first sentence.
    • Open quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph.
    • Do not close the quotation marks at the end of each paragraph – wait until the end of the quote.
  • 16.
    • Active verbs, quotes and description based on observation make a story flow.
    • Copies should INFORM, REMIND and LIVE.
    • Avoid worn-out phrases such as: “student body,” “this year,” “hard work,” “determination,” “gave 100 percent,” “highlight of the year,” “under the direction of,” “lots of fun,” “long hours.”
  • 17.
    • Story will come to life.
    • Edit out passive and boring verbs such as: was, were, held, presented and variations of the verb “to be.”
    • Verbs that really tell the story should substitute for these.
  • 18.
    • A cold lump of facts can be too dry
    • Drippy description can be just as difficult to read.
    • Consider different approaches to this story about graduation.
      • Sample
      • “ On May 30, 532 seniors said good-bye to Temple High School during graduation ceremonies at Wildcat Stadium. John Doe was valedictorian and Jane Doe was salutatorian. Susan Hancock gave the invocation. There was no keynote speaker this year, After all diplomas were given out, the Seniors celebrated by throwing their caps in the air. We will miss our Seniors! Good luck, Seniors in all you do.”
  • 19.
    • Write to express, not impress.
    • Creativity is great, but be accurate.
    • Rewrite. Never accept your first draft as finished copy.
    • If you’re having trouble with your lead, write the body first.
    • Watch transition. Your story should flow logically.
    • Use descriptive words.
    • Remember your audience.
    • Write in third person and in past tense.
    • Spend time interviewing several people for your story.