Abandon the Cap-E Editorial, all ye who enter here: it's up to you to translate vast amounts of information into opinions the average reader can understand.
Something stultifying seems to happen to some writers when they sit down to write An Editorial, Harrumph, Ahem. They take on this phony-baloney air and end up sending readers straight to the comics. They think they have to sound elevated and official and above-the-fray and all that rot--when what they need to sound like is human.
My advice: Don't set out to be an Editorial Writer; be a writer of opinion whose stuff happens to run in the editorial column. Free yourself of the professorial, elbow-patched crapola, and then who knows what weird, wonderful things will happen?
The greatest compliment I hear about our page is when somebody says, "That doesn't sound like an editorial." It's odd, really, the way some folks seem to find editorials con fining when they should be the exact opposite. They should be liberating for a writer. Because we don't have the restrictions of news stories--we don't have to be objective or stick to the inverted pyramid or any of that business. We write informed opinion that strives to go to a deeper, second level. How we get there is up to us.
Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and read some more. Read anything and everything. Read books, magazines, newspapers, poetry, short stories, the back of the cereal box. Because not only does reading keep you informed, not only does it provide the foundation for an informed opinion so that, when the moment comes, you're ready to strike, but it stimulates all kinds of ideas. I can't get through the newspaper without marking all over it--ideas for edits, thoughts, lines, phrases ... sometimes they may seem to have nothing to do with what I'm reading at the time, but they come. It's like exercising your brain.
And read as much of the daily newspaper as possible, even the stories you don't think will interest you or you don't think you'll ever write about. Because you'll need all that info for later. You'd be surprised what the brain keeps on tap.
And one more tip: Never, never, never, never, never, never stop rewriting.
Polish till the Deadline Monster approacheth.
Kane Webb is an editorial writer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. E-mail kwebb@ arkansasonline.com
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|Title Annotation:||Writing 101|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2006|
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