‘How I wrote the story’: Profiling the ‘average’ family

This is the first in a series of essays written by L.A. Times reporters about techniques they used to put successful stories together. The stories and essays are several years old, but the [...]

Foreshadowing your key sub-themes

Every story is your first meeting with the reader, another effort to seduce--to get a stranger to come along with you, to convince him or her to trust you, to keep reading, reading, reading until [...]

Where good ideas come from

What we write about is usually more important than the techniques we use to make the story pretty. Newspapers continue to suffer from too many stories that feel obligatory or flat or formatted, [...]

Six questions to ask yourself before you type that anecdotal lead

Nothing winks more seductively at a reporter with a complex news-feature than an anecdotal lead--the promise of a way to quickly personalize the abstract and set the stage for a broader [...]

Curb your dependence on dependent clauses

In an effort to create a debate on a significant grammatical issue that appears to bedevil many newspaper writers, I would like to undertake a discussion of overwritten dependent clauses.