Once you have your initial story written, you need to step away from the story long enough to get a fresh perspective. Then check that you’ve communicated your ideas clearly.
- Read your story out loud. This allows you to hear the story as your reader does.
- Have a friend read the story. Ask them to repeat the story back to you to see if they got out of it what you intended.
Ways to clarify your meaning include:
- Keep it simple – Avoiding piling on adjectives and phrases.
- Avoid jargon – Use everyday language instead of specialty language where possible.
- Be specific – Large or small, for example, are words that can be better defined
- Answer any outstanding questions – Did you raise questions that you didn’t answer in exploring your story?
Be willing to make changes. Now is the time to alter the story to make it as strong as possible.
- Get to the point. Make sure your lede is clear in the first paragraph.
- Cut any unnecessary words – Is it really necessary to say very? No!
- Use active verbs – Officials scrambled for a solution instead of Officials were left scrambling for a solution.
Find and fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. They make your writing look like you don’t know what you’re talking about or don’t care.
Always double-check spelling of names. Also check dates and locations.
- For example - St. Petersburg College could be described as a Florida college, but not a Tampa college.
Make sure any math adds up properly.
- For example - “St. Petersburg College had a 13% increase in enrollment, resulting in hundreds of new students” is not enough. The actual number of new students can be calculated.