SI Vault
 
Sportswriting For Dummies
Steve Rushin
July 26, 1999
By reading these rules and slavishly following them, you too can learn our noble craft
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 26, 1999

Sportswriting For Dummies

By reading these rules and slavishly following them, you too can learn our noble craft

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

But make no mistake: These are all lists, in one form or another, and lists save you from the time-consuming task of writing artful transitions between paragraphs.

Indeed, another trick of transition writing is to use the word "indeed." It means nothing, and makes you sound literate.

Also: One-sentence paragraphs are dramatic.

A line of white space also provides the illusion of drama. And like the one-sentence paragraph, it has the attendant benefit of eating up a line, an important consideration because freelance sportswriters are paid in one of three ways: 1) by the inch, 2) by the word, 3) by Julius Erving.

Which reminds me: Save joke templates in your computer. With the touch of an F7 key, you can summon a timeless construction such as this one: "[Team/athlete] has more [nouns] than [tired pop cultural reference]." Then, simply plug in the relevant details: "[ Albert Belle] has more [hate mail] than [Jar Jar Binks]." What's that smell? I know: a Pulitzer Prize!

But first, you'll have to write a close. The most expedient way to close any sports article is with a "callback," in which the end of your story makes a sly reference to the beginning. Thus, if your lede was, " Cal Ripken is an Iron Man," your close must be, "The Orioles don't have an Iron deficiency." Congratulations and welcome to the "profession"!

And remember: You didn't get these secrets from me. In fact, eat this column. You're a sportswriter now. It's the last fiber you'll ever get.

1 2