Hear ye, all you who love to pass the hours, pen in hand and parchment on your favourite desk, under the flickering light of your room’s fluorescent luminant. Or maybe that’s way too trying-hard-to-be-superannuated. Maybe, like many aspiring writers today, a laptop is all you need, and perhaps a cup of your favourite roast coffee, to write away, right away.
For this post, we will be zeroing in on sports writing. Woody Paige, anyone? Here are expert-verified tips regarding how you can kick off your passion for writing about all-things sports, beaming and bright a la stadium floodlights.
1. Read Sports. Know Sports
You cannot be a sportswriter if you aren’t an avid reader of sports columns, nor know zilch about sports. We’re being straightforward here. No sugarcoating. You absolutely have to be a fan of this exhilarating form of writing, and of the sport you want to create a piece about.
This isn’t news, nor is it some sort of secret writing tip. It’s a golden rule for any writing category. You will be a much more effective writer, one who can truly engage your readers, if you know what you’re writing about. In case you’re a lost and waddling duck in the topic you want to pen, then read and research about it. Familiarize yourself with it.
2. Simple But Not “News”. And Not Sensationalism
“Simple” here doesn’t necessarily equate to news writing. Objective, to-the-point, emotionless. Nor are we saying that sensationalism is acceptable in sports writing. Sensational sports games properly translated into sensational writing— these are galaxies different from media’s definition of “sensationalism”.
“Simple” refers to keeping your points short and sweet, but with a little life. You don’t have to romanticize it. “The team scored another point and the world stopped. The stadium’s blaring cheers were like a single chant, a voice steady in the wind…” We’ll stop here. You get it.
Write the facts as they are, without dulling the sports fan that you and your readers are.
3. Objectivity PLUS Emotions
This can pose “challenging”. And it is. Being objective yet still pouring a splash of your emotions into your piece? Then again, yes. it’s possible to be objective whilst putting some emotions into what you write.
First, always remember that sports journalism, regardless of the medium, is another branch of hard news. Sports pieces are not literature, lifestyle, editorial, and/or opinion columns. You are to write exactly how the events play out in every game.
However, write it in an engaging manner. Again, not exaggerated (hello, sensationalism). Help readers be in the shoes of actual spectators in the crowd. Let them feel the thrill of the sports game at hand, as though they’re there, watching real-time.
4. The Inverted Pyramid
That’s right, the Inverted Pyramid. This age-old tried and tested journalism technique applies to sports writing, too.
The basic inverted pyramid is divided into three. The largest, topmost portion should contain the most “newsworthy” pieces of information regarding the article. In other words, the “highlights”. This portion is known as “the lead”.
Secondly, “the body” of your article, the mid-portion and second-largest slice of the pyramid, is to explain the details of the first.
Finally, “the tail”, also known as the last (and smallest) part can contain background information and/or general information. It can be comprised of topics not exactly pertaining to the first two as, but are related, nonetheless.