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View Full Version : Thoughts on My tennis article published on sportingo


nickynu
01-13-2009, 05:08 PM
http://www.sportingo.com/tennis/a11023_keothavong-fitzpatrick-robson-three-girls-fighting-put-british-womens-tennis-map

Hi there the above article I wrote about Anne Keothavong the rising British number 1 ladies tennis player, was published to www.Sportingo.com today.

It would be great if anybody wanted to give me feedback - (Constructive please) on the writing style, obviously peoples opinions will differ on the actual content, but I would really appreciate any helpful tips/suggestions people can offer, particularly those with some writing background and credentials. Many thanks in advance.

The title and subheading I chose have been changed by the editors so these would not be my choice and therefore no need to comment on these though, thanks. If people are interested I can share some more work

Feņa14
01-13-2009, 05:25 PM
Bristol's Jo Durie offered hope with a stellar rise towards the top, until her star foundered upon injury and related fitness issues. Reaching No.5 in the world in April, 2008, Durie would climb no higher, and fade gradually away.

Congratulations on the article :) although it was 1984, not 2008 .. is there anyway you can change it?

nickynu
01-13-2009, 05:42 PM
Congratulations on the article :) although it was 1984, not 2008 .. is there anyway you can change it?


Aaaargghhh - I cant believe I didnt see that, thanks man for the feedback, yeah I think it can be amended. I will check it out. Thanks for having a look at the article, its appreciated.

max
01-14-2009, 11:19 AM
Nick; I was a journalist for a time, wrote a wide variety of things for newspapers and magazines. I'd say this particular item is "over-written" (at least for me), which means that your sentences are stretched pretty long just to be clever. You like to demonstrate your vocabulary a bit much. I don't often run into people using the word "plethora".

There was a local movie critic who was horrible a few years back. The young man just loved showing off his fine taste and his exotic vocabulary at every turn. It got in the way of actual communication. Keep in mind that your main point is getting your main point across to the reader.

I could be wrong, Nick. I know I style my writing toward the kinds of audiences the piece will have. Maybe this is right for this crowd.

nickynu
01-14-2009, 01:47 PM
Nick; I was a journalist for a time, wrote a wide variety of things for newspapers and magazines. I'd say this particular item is "over-written" (at least for me), which means that your sentences are stretched pretty long just to be clever. You like to demonstrate your vocabulary a bit much. I don't often run into people using the word "plethora".

There was a local movie critic who was horrible a few years back. The young man just loved showing off his fine taste and his exotic vocabulary at every turn. It got in the way of actual communication. Keep in mind that your main point is getting your main point across to the reader.

I could be wrong, Nick. I know I style my writing toward the kinds of audiences the piece will have. Maybe this is right for this crowd.

Thanks Max for the criticism, and I can see what you mean reading it back thank you. I always struggle little bit with this. The difficulty I have is that sometimes the "unusual" word I want to use does describe what I am trying to get across better than a more "ordinary" one (rather than it being a way to show off). I love the diversity of the English language and it seems a shame to compromise as it feels like 'dumbing it down', and not being true to yourself. Obviously if one day I hope to make a living doing this I will need to write what sells rather than what satisfies me artistically. Did you ever feel like you were churning out things to be commercial? did you see this as a problem and how did you get over this?

Thanks again for taking the time to read it and comment, its really appreciated. Nick

Aldi Patron
01-15-2009, 12:14 AM
Nick, I liked the story for the most part. The only thing I'd suggest is to get to the point of the story by the third or fourth paragraph by introducing all three girls. Since it's sort of a feature-like story, you can follow that up with a statement - sort of like a thesis - that shows the reader the focus of your article.

After that you can expand on all three girls throughout the rest of the story, add prior British tennis history and struggles, etc.

Otherwise, I'd say you're a pretty talented writer, it's just putting all the pieces together.

kairosntx
01-15-2009, 03:34 AM
I would prefer you stretch the readers mind with vocabulary, especially if you can glean the meaning from the context. Plethora is a common enough word, IMO. I love seeing words in print that I took the effort to learn whether it was high school, college, pleasure reading, conversation or message boards!

albino smurf
01-15-2009, 05:10 AM
Too wordy. Sorry. Reads like your first clip. I've been in newspapers/magazines for over fifteen years now and it reads like you are trying to impress your audience with your vocabulary. On the verge though. Remove the fluff and it will be really good.

nickynu
01-15-2009, 11:25 AM
I would prefer you stretch the readers mind with vocabulary, especially if you can glean the meaning from the context. Plethora is a common enough word, IMO. I love seeing words in print that I took the effort to learn whether it was high school, college, pleasure reading, conversation or message boards!

Thanks man, thats exctly how I feel, although I guess the beauty of something so subjective is that everyone has their own opinion, and there is no wrong or right. I understand the points people are making though, as I want my work to be accessible as well as sounding reasonably intelligent, and that may be a hard balance to strike.

Thanks for taking the time to read it and post comments, as I find what you said really encouraging. Best Nickynu

nickynu
01-15-2009, 11:42 AM
Too wordy. Sorry. Reads like your first clip. I've been in newspapers/magazines for over fifteen years now and it reads like you are trying to impress your audience with your vocabulary. On the verge though. Remove the fluff and it will be really good.

Thanks again for the suggestions, I will definately need to have a think about this before writing my next article. What kind of stuff do you cover in your own writing?

nickynu
01-15-2009, 11:49 AM
Nick, I liked the story for the most part. The only thing I'd suggest is to get to the point of the story by the third or fourth paragraph by introducing all three girls. Since it's sort of a feature-like story, you can follow that up with a statement - sort of like a thesis - that shows the reader the focus of your article.

After that you can expand on all three girls throughout the rest of the story, add prior British tennis history and struggles, etc.

Otherwise, I'd say you're a pretty talented writer, it's just putting all the pieces together.

Thanks Aldi, for the imput and encouragement, I know what you mean about getting to the point,
although the editors changed the title and subtitle which originally was just about Keothavong being the 'real deal'.

Obviously they do this to make it appeal to more people but I felt it had slightly changed the focus from what I had intended to say.

max
01-15-2009, 12:17 PM
Well, Nick, really it's all a matter of picking the right sword to do the job. A fun-loving crowd doesn't want to read something geared to a technical audience, etc., etc.

I love Henry James exactly because he picks his words so extremely well. This is, like you recognize, a genuine talent. So I'm loth (hey, like that one?) to try to dissuade (another fine gem) you from using your vocabulary to stretch minds a bit. They need stretching. But try to find a happy medium there. You can do it.

You have to be a happy man being able to write about tennis! Say, have you read John McPhee's Levels of the Game?

nickynu
01-16-2009, 07:42 AM
Well, Nick, really it's all a matter of picking the right sword to do the job. A fun-loving crowd doesn't want to read something geared to a technical audience, etc., etc.

I love Henry James exactly because he picks his words so extremely well. This is, like you recognize, a genuine talent. So I'm loth (hey, like that one?) to try to dissuade (another fine gem) you from using your vocabulary to stretch minds a bit. They need stretching. But try to find a happy medium there. You can do it.

You have to be a happy man being able to write about tennis! Say, have you read John McPhee's Levels of the Game?

Agreed Max, that definately makes sense to me.

I am aware of "levels of the game" although I haven't actually read it as yet. I take it that you would recommend it?

kairosntx
01-16-2009, 08:23 AM
Ever since I heard callipygian, I use it every chance I get!!! Sounds like a "favorite word" thread would be fun.

nickynu
01-16-2009, 04:30 PM
Congratulations on the article :) although it was 1984, not 2008 .. is there anyway you can change it?

Hey fena14 they changed it , so it should read right now. Thanks again

Off The Wall
01-16-2009, 06:53 PM
Generally, very good.

To pick nits, it seemed to me that, in some places, the second level decription was extraneous. The "cotton-clad heroine" description was, to my taste, overmuch (especially with the subsequent new fabrics comment). But WTF, I've done it and will probably continue to do so. I'm just saying that without it, it may have felt more professional (as in journalistic).

However, bear in mind that (1) that's just how I like to read things like that, and (2) I'm not an expert.

Feņa14
01-16-2009, 07:22 PM
Hey fena14 they changed it , so it should read right now. Thanks again

Nice one!

Might I ask how you managed to get published on the site? I'm no expert at all so have no idea how it comes about, is there an interesting story behind it? :)

Deuce
01-17-2009, 02:39 AM
Well, Nick, really it's all a matter of picking the right sword to do the job. A fun-loving crowd doesn't want to read something geared to a technical audience, etc., etc.

I love Henry James exactly because he picks his words so extremely well. This is, like you recognize, a genuine talent. So I'm loth (hey, like that one?) to try to dissuade (another fine gem) you from using your vocabulary to stretch minds a bit. They need stretching. But try to find a happy medium there. You can do it.

On the subject of writing, Samuel Clemens wrote:
"The difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Lightning-Bug&id=1332785

nickynu
01-17-2009, 03:24 PM
Nice one!

Might I ask how you managed to get published on the site? I'm no expert at all so have no idea how it comes about, is there an interesting story behind it? :)


Hey Fena its nothing too exciting Im afraid - Im a mature Student (39)doing a degree through Leeds Uni in: Sport Health and Nutrition. Part of the course requires a 6 week placement. I requested that I could spend the time doing a project to see how viable it is to become a freelance journalist in Sport / Nutrition as that is what I want to do. They agreed so I needed to get something published. Last week was week 2 and I thought the best bet for publication was sport as obviously tennis is my passion/obsession.

Obviously I got published thereand thats why I wanted the feedback to use as part of my project as you guys are the experts on tennis and for me at least, what you feel, carries as much weight as the professional feedback. You all know tennis right-(you are all part of my evil master-plan, mwah ha, lol!)

SPORTINGO is a BRILLIANT website in that you dont need to be a pro to submit something, but you do need to produce work of a high enough standard for them to feel its worth publishing. They have editors who will give you free feedback on what you write from a pro standpoint. Hey if anyone here feels they have what it takes, all you need to do is register and submit, "IF" its good enough they will publish and you have your first writing credit.

I need to move on now, and explore some other ways to get published, and move this to a more professional level, if anybody can offer me any tips, or indeed offer me any outlets for sport/health/nutrition writing I would be massively in your debt? Thanks- NIck

Feņa14
01-17-2009, 05:14 PM
Oh interesting, i've never come across Sportingo before but I might take a closer look, i'm guessing there's some pretty opinionated stuff on there if it's mainly stuff by your average sports fan ;)

nickynu
01-18-2009, 12:25 PM
Oh interesting, i've never come across Sportingo before but I might take a closer look, i'm guessing there's some pretty opinionated stuff on there if it's mainly stuff by your average sports fan ;)

Yeah there are some well written, balanced pieces, but as you say some (especially football) things are fairly opinionated.