10 questions in 10 minutes – writing tips

By · Thursday, May 15th, 2014

If you have gathered information and conducted interviews for a story, and now you’re stuck on how to write it, here are some questions to ask yourself that might help. They are designed to extract all the good material you already have in hand. If you’re editing someone’s work and are attempting to improve it, these same questions will work for you, too. You can ask yourself these questions or, better, ask the writer.

  1. What image really sticks with me?
  2. What quote or two jumps out at me?
  3. What’s the most interesting thing I learned?
  4. What’s the most surprising thing I learned?
  5. What was my best interview? Why?
  6. What’s the most dramatic result I discovered?
  7. What’s my best anecdote?
  8. How will this affect people on a daily basis?
  9. How will people react? How would I react? What’s going to make people most upset? Or happy?
  10. What will people be talking about after they read my story?

The last question is an important one because keeping the story talk going is essential in a digital world. You can do that by following the talk on social media and monitoring comments that readers post. Reporters and editors can discuss and review how the story was framed and whether that framing matches readers’ interests. Ask yourselves what decisions you might reconsider if you had it to do over again.

Making connections with readers might not always give you the results you expect, but what you find out might help you learn more about your audience. And you can build on this feedback as you keep the story talk going.

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