Writing Tips

A student recently wrote to me and asked how she could write news stories that flowed better and that were more alive.

This is an excerpt of my response to her:


Great to hear from you, and I’m happy to help.

First, the good news is that you are already on your way to becoming a great writer because of your desire to improve yourself and your constructive self-reflection!

Second, let me get straight to the pointers:

Your facts and proper sequence of facts are present in your writing samples, that’s good!

What you need to do next is to add colour to the content to make it engaging to read (or as my editor used to say, “Make it sexy.”)

Ways to add colour (try 1, 2 or all 3):

1. Love the story, no matter the topic.

This doesn’t mean you have to like the newsmaker or even the topic, but you have to be passionate about why people should care about what and who you write about.

I mean, if you’re going to spend several hours writing this story, then pour yourself into it.

2. Add details that get people fascinated and unable to tear their eyes away.

This means your interview with the newsmaker needs to be in-depth and full of curious questions to tease out the most important details.

I tend to have very long chats with newsmakers about many things but obviously not every bit of info goes into the story. I pick and choose the juiciest bits for effect.

3. Tell the story like a storyteller.

Imagine you are telling the story to your family or best friend. How would you tell it verbally in an excited or passionate way?

Write in the same spirit!