Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rant Fantasy Football 2014: Will Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller Have Value?

My latest post at Rant Sports...

Link: Fantasy Football 2014: Will Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller Have Value?

Rant NFL Rumors- Five Teams That May Have Interest in Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor

Check out my latest slideshow at Rant Sports, honing in on five teams that may have interest in soon-to-be-former Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor.


Rant 2014 NFL Draft-Could The Minnesota Vikings Draft Two QBs?

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking the possibility the Minnesota Vikings use two picks in May's draft on quarterbacks.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rant 2014 NCAA Tournament-Five Stanford Players Who Must Deliver In The Sweet 16

Check out my latest NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 slideshow at Rant Sports, taking a look at five Stanford players who must play well Thursday night against Dayton.


Rant 2014 NCAA Tournament-Five Wisconsin Badgers That Must Deliver In the Sweet 16

My slideshow from earlier Tuesday at Rant Sports, looking at five Wisconsin Badgers who will need to perform well in their Sweet 16 matchup with Baylor.


Rant Fantasy Baseball 2014: The Texas Rangers Catcher Situation

My latest post at Rant Sports....

Link: Fantasy Baseball 2014: The Texas Rangers Catcher Situation

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rant NFL Rumors-Five Teams That Could Have Interest in Mark Sanchez

Check out my latest slideshow at Rant Sports, taking a look at five teams that may have interest in quarterback Mark Sanchez.


How I Write Well: My Keys To Good Writing

Those that know me best are well aware of my aspirations to make a full-time living as a sports writer. I'm not quite there yet, but I remain driven toward "the dream." 

As I've progressed, to now becoming a Senior Writer at Rant Sports, I occasionally get asked about good ways to gets started as a sports writer, in terms of websites to write for and such, how I do things, etc., even though I sometimes I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of my own career in terms of what I'd ultimately like to do.

And so came that proverbial cartoon character "light bulb moment" where I started to think that my insight and experience must be considered valuable to others, and maybe it's a lot more valuable than I think it is. 

So without any more of my back story, here are what I feel are the essential elements of good feature-length stories that are found on websites and in magazines and newspapers. I will take a sports writer angle, since that is what I know best, but I think these elements can apply to any type of feature or blog-length writing, be it news, entertainment or whatever an individual writer has their finger on the pulse of.

Part I-Setting The Stage

I could use phrases like "topic sentence", "introduction paragraph" and such, which would certainly make an English teacher proud, but I feel like this first paragraph or two is effectively setting the stage for what will come.

In the context of sports, what happened in a previous game, stretch of games or season is appropriate here, of course depending on the subject. There is room for some opinion here, and readers that know your writing best may pick up a hint of foreshadowing, but in general you should not give away your entire opinion in the first 100 words.

Part 2-The Meat and Potatoes

This area is about building, and in the sports realm looking back and forward can be appropriate depending on subject matter. If you're writing about a game, offering some highlights (player performances, trends, etc.) from said game is vital here. This is also an opportunity to offer data and statistics to re-enforce facts, offer context and support your overall opinion.

Part 3- Conclusion

Now is the time to tie up any loose ends, offer your definitive opinion and look ahead to what's next. Particularly in sports writing, looking ahead is essential because last night's game is old news very quickly and the reader wants to know what is coming that they can look forward to.

Other Notes

Typos happen at times no matter how much you proofread, but particularly In sports writing factual errors are not an option and easy to avoid. I'm talking having the names of players and coaches spelled correctly, statistics being accurate and days being cited properly in terms of when games happened, when games will happen and notable events occur. A lack of attention to detail in any of the aforementioned areas will wreck your credibility as a writer, and perhaps drive readers away from whatever outlet you're writing for as a whole. The information is out there, so use it and don't be afraid to double and triple-check simple facts.

As a sports writer, it's important to note what sports talk radio host Jim Rome implores his callers to do- "Have a take, and don't suck." 

In my own writing, regardless of topic, I sometimes don't start a piece with a definitive and inflexible final take locked down. I often let the data guide me, where it's applicable, and simply writing serves as a de facto brainstorming session that leads me to an ultimate conclusion. I guess the lesson is to be flexible, and be willing to alter your initial thoughts if facts, statistics and other important insights start to prove them wrong.

One of my colleagues at Rant Sports had a useful tip to all writers recently, telling us to "be the authority" on the topic you're writing about. That is a good way to bring readers back to your work, whether they agree with your opinion or not.

A couple of final notes: It's absolutely critical to find your own unique voice as a writer. I like to think people that read my work can hear me saying the words I write about a given topic, and I hope that's the case more often than not.

Rant Minnesota Vikings Rumors-Could They Add RB Depth?

My post from Sunday afternoon at Rant Sports, looking at the possibility the Minnesota Vikings add an experienced veteran running back to go with Adrian Peterson.


Rant 2014 NCAA Tournament-Arizona Advances to the Sweet 16 With Win Over Gonzaga

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at Arizona's win over Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rant Minnesota Wild vs. New York Islanders-Post-Game Report

My latest post at Rant Sports, a post-game reaction/angle on Tuesday night's game between the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders.


Rant 2014 Fantasy Football Keeper Profile-Chicago Bears WR Marquess Wilson

One of my posts from earlier Tuesday at Rant Sports, attempting to hone in on the fantasy football stock of Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson looking toward his second season.


Rant Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Radar-Kansas City Royals SP Yordano Ventura

My latest post at Rant Sports, taking a look at Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura as a potential fantasy baseball sleeper now that he has earned a starting rotation spot.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Rant 2014 Fantasy Football Team Defense Outlook-Minnesota Vikings

My latest post at Rant Sports, taking a look at the improvements that the Minnesota Vikings have made so far this offseason and their impact on the team's fantasy value for next season.


Rant Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State-The Rebels Rally to Keep Their NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive

Check out my post from late Thursday night at Rant Sports, recapping the SEC Tournament matchup between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.


Rant Big 10 Tournament Game Preview-Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

My latest post at Rant Sports, previewing Friday night's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal matchup between Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rant 2014 SEC Tournament-Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State

My latest at Rant Sports, a post-game angle on Wednesday night's SEC Tournament game between Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.


Rant Fantasy Baseball Top Five-The Washington Nationals

The latest installment of my fantasy baseball "Top Five" series at Rant Sports, featuring the Washington Nationals.


Rant Minnesota Vikings Rumors-Is Darren Sproles A Good Fit?

My latest post at Rant take on if the Minnesota Vikings should have interest in New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rant 2014 Fantasy Football Impact-The Jacksonville Jaguars Sign RB Toby Gerhart

My latest at Rant Sports, looking at the fantasy football impact of the Jacksonville Jaguars signing running back Toby Gerhart.


Rant Big 10 Tournament Preview-Minnesota vs. Penn State

Check out my latest post at Rant Sports, previewing Thursday night's Big 10 Tournament game between Minnesota and Penn State as the Golden Gophers look to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume.


Rant The Top Five Free Agent Signings In Minnesota Vikings History

My latest slideshow at Rant list of the top five free agent signings in Minnesota Vikings history.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rant MLB Rumors- Should the Atlanta Braves Have Interest In Ervin Santana?

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at any interest the Atlanta Braves may have in free agent pitcher Ervin Santana.


Rant 2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five: The Houston Astros

Check out my most recent slideshow at Rant Sports, the latest in my "Fantasy Baseball Top Five" series, focusing on the Houston Astros.


Rant The Minnesota Vikings Re-Sign QB Matt Cassel

My post from Saturday at Rant Sports, looking at the Minnesota Vikings' reported re-signing of quarterback Matt Cassel.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rant Minnesota Vikings Rumors-Is CB Nolan Carroll A Free Agent Target?

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at free agent cornerback Nolan Carroll as a possible fit for the Minnesota Vikings.


Rant NHL Trade Deadline-The Minnesota Wild Acquire Ilya Bryzgalov

One of my posts from Tuesday at Rant Sports, looking at the Minnesota Wild's acquisition of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers. 


Rant 2014 NFL Draft-Ranking the Top Five Needs For the Green Bay Packers

My latest slideshow at Rant Sports, ranking the top five needs for the Green Bay Packers ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft.


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About Me

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I am a sportswriter based in Minnesota, and I contribute currently to a few sports related websites. I intend to use this blog to create visibility for my work.