8 Ways to Assess a Story Idea (Guest Post)

Julius Müller-Massdorf: Eine interessante Geschichte

Today, I’m introducing Writing for Life, which is directed by Anne Marie Winz, veteran writer for Cru. She ministers out of the Women’s Resources department in the Global Leadership Office at Cru Headquarters. The following post was originally published on WritingforLife.org as Is It a Good Idea?

Content comes from ideas. Sometimes it’s a story someone else tells. Other times it’s an opinion someone expresses. Still other times ideas come from reading what others have already written and then forming an opinion about it. But is it a good idea?

8 Ways to Assess a Story Idea

1. Where did your idea come from?

If it came from reporting, it’s probably a stronger idea than one that just popped into your head. Did your reporting suggest a trend? Did it turn up a fascinating person? Did something puzzle or intrigue you?

2. Is the idea original?

3. Does the idea surprise you?

If not, how will it surprise your readers? Will they invest the time to read a story if they already know pretty much everything by reading the headline?

4. Does the idea have movement to it?

What’s movement? It’s change, motion, direction – something that’s new, something people are developing interest in, starting to talk about, or think about, or plan for.

5. Is there a story there?

6. Is there tension?

Tension comes with conflict, a problem to be overcome, a mystery to be solved. Tension is reading the firstparagraph of a story and not knowing what the last paragraph is going to say.

7. Is the story true?

8. Do YOU like the story?

You’re going to be spending a lot of time working on this piece. Shouldn’t it be something you love doing? How can you expect your editors and readers to enjoy a story if you haven’t?

About Writing for Life

Anne Marie WinzI’m Anne Marie Winz and I coach people to become better communicators. We all write best when we start with confidence in the abilities we already have. I tell staff what they do well when they write. Then, after they see their own success, I show them how to improve their writing and research skills.

For 30 years, I’ve written for non-profit publications including Cru’s award-winning Worldwide Challenge magazine, and the digital platform cru.org. I’ve written and edited stories, and I have taught other adults how to write for non-profit publications.

Because I’m passionate about training my students to clearly and thoughtfully communicate their faith in writing, I developed Writing for Life to train writers of all ages to tell their stories and write about their beliefs.

“Publish God’s glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”

– 1 Chronicles 10:24

Creative Commons License
Is It a Good Idea? by Anne Marie Winz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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