For Monday

Great seeing everyone last week.

I’ve been reading your second drafts and see encouraging progress. A few of these are far enough along that I’m going to endeavor to provide line edits in a Word file. Those with larger structural issues, or that require more reporting, I’ll respond to in broader terms. There’s no sense worrying about commas and grammar in sentences you may cut or change drastically. I’m making my way through the stories but keep in mind that 14 stories x 5,000 words = roughly the length of a book, so it takes some time to do close reads on each.

ASSIGNMENT

For Monday, the first part of your homework is to revise the heck out of your story. Keep plugging. Use the active voice (remember, Microsoft Word has a feature that will tag the passive voice for you, if all else fails). Cut the fat/lard out of your sentences. Ask yourself: Is there a quicker, more powerful way to say this? Call back sources if you need more information. And begin the fact-checking process now. Here is the CUNY primer I printed out, which includes how-tos on fact-checking and a number of good links.

Remember: For your final paper, you need to turn in a list of sources, with contact information. You also need to include a list of citations for all research.

Second, on Monday we will be discussing how to pitch your stories. In advance, please do two things:

  1. Read the following two (very short) articles with practical advice so you’ll have a sense of what’s in store. They are here and here . Optional, if you’re getting more serious, is this useful Q&A with magazine editors about how to pitch. Worth scanning.
  2. Make a list of the publications you are interested in pitching to. Go ahead and make it your dream list. Always good to aim high. Publications can include local papers like the News-Register, or the Oregonian. You can include websites and online news sources and alternative weeklies and the New York Times. Merely the act of pitching these publications, whether or not they respond, will provide a valuable experience.

Also, some cool news. Thanks to a great idea from Mr. Williams, all of your stories have the opportunity to be published online in the Linfield Review. That means your fellow students, and alumni and faculty (and anyone else, really), can read them. It means the stories will be link-able, in a college newspaper, and forever available on your resume. We’ll discuss more on Monday but I urge you all to take the opportunity to do the best work you can, and take pride in that work.

Finally, please bring your laptops on Monday, as we may use them in class. And take advantage of the time before/after to visit office hours if you have questions. I’ve already spoken to a few of you on the phone, and others in person.

See you all Monday and, of course, good luck.

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