Saturday, August 13, 2005

back to basics . . .

Fine, if you say I can't write, I'll learn. Ha.

Wynford Hicks' wonderfully enlightening book 'Writing for Journalists' is just the kind of thing I wish my tutors had insisted we all read during my degree. Everything is explained with such ease, from drop-down intros to feature structure, to the use of anecdotes to variations in style, that I can't believe it's not required reading for trainee journalists everywhere. Hooray for Hicks.

As I caressed each of the 150 or so pages while commuting this week, I got to thinking. The techniques explained, using examples from nationals, regionals and trade periodicals (just to show you need to work extra hard to make B2Bs interesting) aren't employed in game journalism.

They just aren't.

Things like what I just did there. Hicks advises against such posturing. I agree. And yet game journalism is over populated with this very same technique, as if making a statement of defiance that's simply not required. It's as if game journalism is sticking two fingers up at mainstream writing when they would be better employed turning the pages of Hicks' tome.

Simple things like employing narrative or anecdotes in feature intros. Hicks provides an example:

'According to a Chinese legend, a rich man commissions an artist to draw him a picture of a fish. Years pass by and the rich man grows impatient. He visits the artist and demands the picture or else he will cancel the deal.

The artist then proceeds to draw the most exquisite fish of all time, in a mere 30 seconds. The rich man is well pleased but intensely puzzled. 'If you can produce something so beautiful in 30 seconds, how come I had to wait seven years?'

The artist does not reply but instead leads the man over to a large cabinet which he opens to reveal several thousands of practice skethces of fishes.

The Boat Race is similar to this . . .'

Daily Telegraph

I've never seen an oblique intro, using a story, as well as this in game journalism. While it slightly concerns me, I understand it. Most game writing is for male gamers, who don't care about journalistic techniques when they read the latest GTA preview. Why make the effort?

And it certainly takes a particular skill to write entertaining and compelling reviews and previews for teenage boys, especially when you only have 250 words to play with. I don't even think I can do it brilliantly myself. But I'm not interested in that kind of game writing. I'm interested in game features, and from what I've seen, professional techniques, hell, even the lateral thought that goes into mainstream feature writing, just isn't there on the web or in print.

So, I reckon, wide-eyed game journos-to-be should learn from people like Hicks and employ these amazing techniques in their game writing. You'll stand out from the millions of other prospects and really set yourself high standards.

I see a future when game writing is of a standard of the Guardian's best feature writers, or the quality of the Independent's columnists. Game features, perhaps discussing the latest online commmunity phenomenon, or an interview with the latest up and coming developer, will have intros to die for, will have a structure than inspires and an ending that sticks in the memory like a fond childhood smell. I can already see these techniques slipping into some game writing outlets. The beginnings of this future is already upon us.

If you read the nationals, even words from Big Issue, NME or Maxim, you notice something. If you deeply analyse them, work out why you enjoy a particular sentence, why certain words make you smile, or other phrases roll of your minds tongue like a child sliding down a water shute, you'll understand what I'm talking about. As far as I can tell, it's not a problem doing it, it's just realising why you're doing what you're doing. Hell, if I can do it, anyone can.

I can't think of a good enough pay-off. Check back later after I've looked it up in Hicks.

1 comment:

zane894jade said...

='Brand New News From The Timber Industry!!'=

========Latest Profile==========
Energy & Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY)
Current Price $0.15

Recognize this undiscovered gem which is poised to jump!!

Please read the following Announcement in its Entierty and
Consider the Possibilities
Watch this One to Trade!

Because, EGTY has secured the global rights to market
genetically enhanced fast growing, hard-wood trees!

EGTY trading volume is beginning to surge with landslide Announcement.
The value of this Stock appears poised for growth! This one will not
remain on the ground floor for long.

Keep Reading!!!!


-Energy and Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY) owns a global license to market
the genetically enhanced Global Cedar growth trees, with plans to
REVOLUTIONIZE the forest-timber industry.

These newly enhanced Global Cedar trees require only 9-12 years of growth before they can
be harvested for lumber, whereas worldwide growth time for lumber is 30-50 years.

Other than growing at an astonishing rate, the Global Cedar has a number of other benefits.
Its natural elements make it resistant to termites, and the lack of oils and sap found in the wood
make it resistant to forest fire, ensuring higher returns on investments.

the wood is very lightweight and strong, lighter than Poplar and over twice
as strong as Balsa, which makes it great for construction. It also has
the unique ability to regrow itself from the stump, minimizing the land and
time to replant and develop new root systems.

Based on current resources and agreements, EGTY projects revenues of $140 Million
with an approximate profit margin of 40% for each 9-year cycle. With anticipated
growth, EGTY is expected to challenge Deltic Timber Corp. during its initial 9-year cycle.

Deltic Timber Corp. currently trades at over $38.00 a share with about $153 Million in revenues.
As the reputation and demand for the Global Cedar tree continues to grow around the world
EGTY believes additional multi-million dollar agreements will be forthcoming. The Global Cedar nursery has produced
about 100,000 infant plants and is developing a production growth target of 250,000 infant plants per month.

Energy and Asset Technology is currently in negotiations with land and business owners in New Zealand,
Greece and Malaysia regarding the purchase of their popular and profitable fast growing infant tree plants.
Inquiries from the governments of Brazil and Ecuador are also being evaluated.


The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little
known Companies That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens.
This stock will not be a Secret for long. Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right
Now! And Please Watch This One Trade!!


All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such.
We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect
to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are
not statements of historical fact and may be "forward, looking
statements." forward, looking statements are based on expectations, estimates
and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results
or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid $3,000 from third party (IR Marketing).
Forward,|ooking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Se'ction 17. {b), we disclose the holding of EGTY shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward,looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to
differ materially from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is
or informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high risk and you can lose your entire investment.