Style is about how an author chooses to write to his or her audience. This can include elements such as tone, diction, organization, and syntax. Below are some tips on how to make your story stand out:
- Keep it clear and concise. The reccomended word count for ExploreCU stories is about 500 words, so you'll need to eliminate 'filler' content. Consult this guide for details on how to do so.
- Think about your audience. ExploreCU is aimed at the Champaign-Urbana community. Avoid using jargon, and be sure to provide background information (but not too much!) about a paticular topic if necessary.
- Use an academic tone. ExploreCU stories are similar to short essays or articles, and so authors are encouraged to stay objective about his or her topic and to avoid sounding conversational. This guide provides more details about academic tone.
- Focus on what your story is about. Many historical topics include myriad details, but try to only focus on those that are relevant to what you are trying to get across.
- Never submit a first draft. There is always room for improvement. Many mistakes can be fixed through a little bit of proofreading.
- Engage readers by providing them text that reads more like a story and less like an encyclopedia entry. ExploreCU is meant to impart more than facts and figures about local history. Rather, try to relate a sense of context and historical importance to a place or event. What was it like to experience a paticular event? What was the political context for creating a public park system? Why are the arts important to this community?
- Avoid lengthy analysis about a paticular issue. While WWII deeply affected the Champaign-Urbana community, readers don't need the entire history of the war. Keep content relevant to your audience.
Make an appointment with the Writers' Workshop for more help with writing an engaging ExploreCU story.