Getting Back Up On the Horse

How to Write A  Good News Paper Article

While my teacher might be the cause of my failing luster for my journalism class, I have decided that I will be getting back up, finding out just how to get my A from other sources.

Part of my discouragement came from receiving my lowest grade yet, and not really understanding why I got this grade. Granted, it’s not a bad grade, it’s just not an A. It’s the low end of a B, possibly a B-, I lose track of the percentage-to-grades. She wrote notes all over my article, which is fine, I just didn’t agree with them. That’s where the whole creativity thing comes in.

But I must remember that this isn’t a creative class, this is a report-the-facts class. Though some interpretation comes into play, such as who dictates what is the more important information in the story, and how to organize it so that it flowers nicely.

While my teacher is nice, and I do giggle a few times at her rambles – she does just that – ramblesIt’s distracting and adds a lot of words to very easy concepts to grasp, and causes me to be confused. I don’t want to approach her too much about it purely because I don’t want to come across as criticizing.

My solution then is – terribly simple and obvious – be a student and do my homework. I don’t mean the homework that she assigns, but the extra stuff. Go out on my own and figure out exactly what I need to be writing and honing in on.

So, I would like to share with you the first comprehensible bit of information I have come across, and I will share more to come as I come across it. I want to be helpful to other aspiring journalists who may or may not be in the same position as I am.


As Dull As the Printed Ink

My enjoyment of Journalism is quickly dimming. I am surprised that it didn’t catch on sooner. It’s the formatting my writing thing – the very reason I didn’t want to get into journalism to begin with – it’s finally getting me down.

No flamboyant wording! No creative expression! We write the facts, and we write it one way and one way only!

Where is the fun in that?

I know where the fun is – the fun is in finding the story, the adventure of seeking the details before anyone else can, and getting what no one else can, and breaking it to the world first. That’s where the fun is.

But for someone wanting to be a writer – that’s merely a perk. It’s not for the passion of the written word…is it?

I got my lowest grade on an assignment today. 82.5%. Thankfully we can do a re-write at the end of the quarter, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid I won’t be able to format myself before then. I feel like I’m in a cartoon, and journalism is trying to stuff my creativity into this tiny little box. Right now is just training as to how to write. It must be the inverted pyramid. It must  have at least 4 out of the 5 W’s in the Lede – but don’t you dare let that sentence run on!

This sounds silly. I sound silly. There’s a whole mess of silliness in my winging about this class. This is what I knew it would be.

I think I signed up for this class hoping beyond hope that it wouldn’t be this way, that it was just vague set of rules that had been mentioned to us in high school – much like essays. In high school we were taught they had to be very structured – This is your introduction paragraph where you use the words “In this essay, _________________ will be discussed” and point out the way it shall be discussed and so on. In college they don’t want that – thank God too! I wouldn’t be in school if that were the case.

Well, I need to suck it up. After all, this is why I took the class – to give me a different perspective of writing, to learn a different style, and learn new ways to approach things, and for the experience. This is part of it.

I can do this, I just need to do more homework – well, I need to read more news papers so that I can get a better feel of the way articles worked. I thought I had been doing well with that. I read the Associated Press website every morning, and I buy a news paper once a week and read most of the articles in it, whether they interest me or not.

There’s worse things. I could be in a biology class having to memorize the different ruffles of a bacteria…or something…

I am grateful for the opportunity to be in school, and that I live in a world where I can go to school for what I want to go to school for instead of having someone dictate it for me (I’ve been watching Mad Men – wow).  I just sometimes need to remind myself of that.


Goodbye Dear Friend

I hate Christmas, I always have. However, I have one incredibly fond Christmas memory.
back in the days of my work as a caregiver, working with adults with developmental disabilities, we had to make a big deal out of Christmas for the clients. We had to take any excess money they had, and buy their own gifts for themselves, without them knowing, and we called it Santa. This wasn’t in all cases, but for our clients that wouldn’t put two and two together, thus was the situation.
I had a client who was my main client, and by choice.
I don’t remember my first day working with her, but I remember my first day meeting here, and She intimidated me. What it was about her that got to me, I can’t really say, but she intimidated me. Though by the time i started working with her, we already had a good established relationship, and over the following three years, it only strengthened.
She was non-verbal, had Down’s Syndrome, but was sassy and witty, and, in my eyes, a perfect human being. Her greatest enjoyment, aside from going out into the community, was string. Well, shoe laces were preferred, since she could get the knots undone, but really anything of that nature would do.
Naturally, we got her new string for Christmas – of course along with other things such as music (I had a pretty good idea of her taste in jams), things she needed for the house and so on. But a few pairs of shoe-strings were perfect for the stocking.
Everyone else had the same idea for her for a gift for Christmas, and as we sat down after breakfast to open presents, just she an I – she began opening gift after gift of string. While I would tell her who each gift was from, she would hug me every time she opened them.
Then came the big one – a shoebox full of string. I think there were perhaps 20 or so sets of different laces in that one.
She was so happy she couldn’t stop crying. She hugged me and hugged me and wouldn’t let go of me. It was the only time I saw her cry with full-on tears. She was so happy that I started crying.
I had to stop working there after a while, though I held on for as long as I could for her. In the end, the politics got to me, and I couldn’t fight the system from within any longer, so I left. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t be there for her any more, that I could no longer be her advocate.
I was her main staff for three years. I spent 40 hours a week with her, that was 40 out of her 70 allotted hours, the rest of the staff that worked with her, only spent ten hours a week each. She was so much a part of my life, and when I wasn’t working, I still made myself available as the staff to contact with any questions about her from doctors, pharmacists, anything else. I knew her wants, I knew her tastes, I knew just how she preferred things done. I knew what each little sounds she made meant, I knew what each look, each motion indicated.
And she knew me. She knew when I was struggling, when I was having a hard time with personal issues. She knew when to encourage me to dance with her. She knew when it was good to just get out and walk about.
We were more than just work-related. We were friends.
Friday marked the tragic day. On Friday, my former manager contacted me to let me know that this client, this wonderful being, was in hospice, and that they were expecting her to depart at any moment now.
What was already a tiring day took on a new vibration. For the first time, I began to understand the stages of grief.
Anger was definitely what struck me hardest, and guilt. I felt guilty that I didn’t try harder to see her after I left, guilty that I left at all. I felt angry at the agency she was with, though I have a whole separate rant about that. I just feel loss. I feel the loss that the would should be feeling now that she is not a part of it. I am angry – so angry that she was so healthy and happy when I worked with her, and now, just two an a half years later, she’s in a bed, circling the drain.
While I can’t actually say the words out loud, not yet, I know that it is time for me to say good-bye to her.
Good bye, dear friend. There has been no brighter star than you.

Pirate Codes & Writing Rules—When is a Flashback a Literary Device?

I have always struggled with the writing rule to never use flash backs. Sometimes I have found them to be useful in my writing. However, flashbacks are defined – and defined well here, and I recommend anyone who wants to dabble in the world of jumping through literary time in their story to give this a read.
It certainly gave me a sigh of relief for some instances of my story.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Pirate Code=Writing Rules. Clearer now? :) Pirate Code=Writing Rules. Clearer now? 🙂

Yesterday’s post stirred quite the debate and flurry of panic attacks, so today, we will delve a bit further into Le Mystique of Le Flashback. First of all, for future reference, I need to ignore all Facebook comments that begin with, “I haven’t read your post, but completely disagree…” Er? Ok. Here’s the thing. I play dictator on my blog, because it’s my blog and it’s FUN.

I’m a realist and I KNOW there is some writer out there who has broken every rule there is. But, bringing up every last exception is a confusing way to teach and a fabulous way to make your heads explode.

It’s like the “I before E Except After C (except for when you run a feisty heist on a weird beige foreign neighbor) Rule.”

If I give you guys the BASICS and explain WHY editors, agents…

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Fermented Friday – Gin and Juice and Spring

After a rough day that I’ll get into later, a gin is the way to top it off.


Gin and limeade with frozen strawberries and cucumbers. The only thing missing is a sprig of mint.

Further than the Eye Can See

I finally got up my nerve to go into the Study Abroad office and ask some questions. As – luck? fate? drat-it-all? – would have it, the gentleman I needed to talk to was out of town for the day, but the lady at the desk gave me some information. Essentially, I’ve got some homework to do.

She gave me a check list of things I need to do before I attempt to talk with the gent I need to talk to, one of which is to find out all I can about the Study Abroad program itself, which is fine, I don’t mind going in knowledgable.

However, she did say something else that was of interest – I don’t have to do one of the group things. As it stands, they offer a group trip to Florence for 2015 Spring Quarter, I think Costa Rica is for Winter Quarter, and so on. These are essentailly pre-determined schedules that I would be signing up for if I went. But she said that if I wanted to go somewhere else, do my own thing, make my own curriculum – I was ablt to do that.

I would of course chose France, and I’d try for Fall quarter of 2015 instead of the Spring Quarter. It would give me more room to get some money together, and in that time I’ll have taken a few French classes as well, which would also allow me to attempt to study French literature while I was in France, thus adding to my degree.

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!

But, getting ahead of myself, first things first is finding the funding for it all. I think I should be alright. I looked a little bit more into scholarships that I can get, grants that I qualify for, and FAFSA too.

When your mind is made up, the Universe conspires to make it happen – or however that quote goes.