After coming up with a news angle, interviewing the experts and getting started on other elements of the project, the time has come for the big one and this edition of More Than a Game will discuss the process involved with writing the main article for the Beautiful Science.
It all seems slightly crazy. The volume of time, resources and effort into just 1,500 or so written words. However, every ounce put into the preparation and pre-writing process is worth its weight in gold as the task at hand of compiling the article takes places.
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail is a quote that resonates on a personal level way back to the start of secondary school, but however far I progress on from those days in morning tutorial waiting to call my number in our rehearsed system for flying through the class register, the saying still rings true.
The people in any story are the ones that sell it as I discussed in the interview focused More Than a Game entry. Fortunately I have been lucky enough to talk to some genuine experts in their field who all spoke both with passion and insight on their area of knowledge whether this be the VR experts or the football coaches.
Pouring out on the page
In all honesty from blank page to 1500 words on my MMP Article Google Doc only took a couple of hours. In comparison to the already completed radio package and the upcoming TV package this was a whirlwind approach. To say this briskly typed version of my investigative article will be anything like the article I submit in January would be a concrete lie.
However, I was keen to get my words out of my head and in some sort of tangible form. Even if there were major revisions to be made. Once I have the skeleton of an article in place I find the process of refinement somewhat cathartic. All the effort made previously can now be invested into my own masterpiece of the English language.
Quotes are changed. Details added. Paragraphs amended. Descriptions axed. The process at times can feel brutal, but it is all a matter of review, reflect and refresh.
Start as you mean to go on
The hardest part of any article I write comes in the opening paragraph. In every article I look to make this the strongest part of the story. Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting one of my role models from within the industry, Henry Winter. They say don’t meet your heroes, but I cannot agree with this from my own experience. Having the opportunity to ask Winter for tips as an aspiring journalist was a privilege I never thought would come my way. His words of advice writing will always stay with me and that was to ensure you hook the reading in the opening 10 seconds. If they have no interest at that point they will take their eyes and attention elsewhere.
My approach going forward from this advice was to firstly try and make each introduction to an article unique in some way and also tap into the readers thinking. For the project article I went about this by using a descriptive introduction on how VR may be used by a footballer.
From there mixing quotes and information on the subject all flow naturally and my style with conclusions is consistent. Leave the reader with something to think about, but also having learned something. This often encapsulates a quote from philosophy. In the case of the main article however I decided on looking to the future, a theme of the story, and almost laying down the gauntlet for the VR industry.
The process of writing is by no means complete, but as the deadline draws nearer it is another big landmark set it in place to have a strong draft in writing.