Below are some observations about putting together a story that’s more than just a “hard news” just-the-facts report.
- Readability is a measurement of such things as the number of words in a sentence, the number of syllables in a word and the number of ideas in a sentence. In general, the more of them there are, the harder a sentence is to understand.
- Writing to inform and entertain is as important for journalists as it is for novelists.
- Good writing begins with good reporting. You can settle for a dry police report, or you can go to the scene and gather details.
- Good writing is accurate because it is built on concrete details. When you use language to communicate those details precisely, you inform and entertain your readers.
- Use concrete examples
- Show, don’t just tell
- Translate numbers
- Use words precisely
Tools of narration
- Decide on the order of elements
- Select the proper sentence structure (simple, compound, complex)
- Use precise conjunction
- Use transitions
- Keep sentences short
- Limit each sentence to one idea
- Favor subject-verb-object sentences
- Avoid using more than three prepositional phrases in one sentence
- Avoid using more than three number in one sentence
- Use plain and simple words instead of jargon, journalese, or clichés
Aim for Conciseness
- Eliminate some subject areas
- Eliminate redundancies
- Challenge intensive and qualify adverbs
Train yourself to value brevity
- Keep it simple
- Use correct of effective language
- Take advantage of figures of speech
- Careful word choice: precision means using the conditional mood (could, might, should, would)
- Use bias free language
- Correct Grammar and punctuation