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Aug 26 / Joel Cordes

Internship Insider: Keys to the Writing Game – Part III

These are some of the “big picture” hints that have really been helpful to our interns and will be valuable to all B/R writers in general.  Feel free to tape this next to your computer, and be sure to read Part 1 here & read Part 2 here.

9. Explain. Describe. Analyze.
- Flowery words are no good when they don’t mean anything.  Hanging statements are dead opinions that no one should have to (or will) take seriously.  Readers do not and will not just “take your word for it.”  Exchange superlative generalities for specific analysis.  Prove your opinions with actual evidence and reasoning.  Be specific.

10. Every Word Counts
- Deadwood and overuse of infinitive phrases are the mark of an inexperienced writer.  One specific adjective can conquer three infinitive phrases at a time.  Say what you mean.  Get to the point.  If a sentence/paragraph/article stands fine without a word/phrase/sentence, then you don’t need it.

11.  Writers Write / Sportswriting is Work
- Deadlines count.  Quality counts.  Finding a unique angle on “the same old story” is hard, but absolutely necessary… every time.  Your craft doesn’t get better unless you write every day.  Readers know immediately when you’re not “locked in” to your work.  Talent and creativity are not enough, if dedication isn’t also part of your personal equation.  If you disagree or can’t meet any of these requirements, then you’re in the wrong profession.

12. Sportswriting is Fun
- Few other jobs allow you to partake in such far-reaching pastimes as both an observer and contributor.  You’re being allowed to do what every sports fan does anyway (watch, react, argue, etc.), but you get to share your experiences with an audience.  By doing so, you become a part of that sport.  You get to be on the outside looking in AND on the other side of the window as well.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Joel Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Internship Program Feedback Editor. Each week, he includes some hints, tips and answers in an email to those participating in the B/R Sports Writing Internship, the highlights of which are posted on the B/R Blog.