I suppose I should practice here.
Katherine Reed, our public safety and health editor and reporting professor, told us in class she always gets butterflies in her stomach when she sits down to write a lede. I tend to get my butterflies before I even go out to cover the story, so the worst has worn off by the time I get to the lede. But I’ve been thinking lately about how carefully — or lazily — I craft my sentences. And the most important sentence to be crafted is the first.
I find it difficult to be thoughtful in sentence-crafting when I’m working off a press release, because I’m trying not to plagiarize. But in my regular stories, I just rush.
I think I’ll try the Hemingway approach sometime. He wasn’t afraid of re-drafting. Crossing out. Chopping. Shaving words. Short. Distinct.
Meaningful. Every word.
I’ll try it.