The fourth installment of our look back at the Young Reader Conference concerns a session on coaching young writers by Richard Weiss, who also worked with the YRC teen fellows.
Weiss shared a lifetime of tricks and tips for coaching young journalists. He suggested two main concerns facing journalists: the ephemeral and the eternal.
The ephemeral includes media platforms, the company and the boss, while the eternal includes well-told stories, value and imagination. Knowing your own story is critical in telling someone else's, he said, and he offered these suggestions for youth editors in encouraging economy in words:
- Avoid introductory clauses.
- Never use a big word when a simple one will do.
- View adjectives and adverbs with suspicion.
- Use active verbs.
- Find interesting nouns.
Weiss recommended "Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction" by Jon Franklin, "Literary Journalism" by Norman Sims and Mark Kramer, "Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers" by Sol Stein, "The Art and Craft of Feature Writing" by William E. Blundell, "Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction," by James B. Stewart and "On Writing Well" by William K. Zinsser.
-- By Barbara Allen and Kelsea Gurski
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