By Verah Omwocha
Reading a write – up about an event, it occurred to me how writing about events can be such an easy way to collect words and make them valueless, and boring.
But hey, do you know you can write interesting and yet informative pieces out of events?
I sampled the following tips. Please let me know if they can be of help.
- Think and Plan to write
As a writer, when you attend an event, think about writing about it. You might not realise it, but this is a great, non-stressful way to keep practising writing. As a writer, you cannot afford to say, “It was lit,” or ‘great’ as an answer to how an event was.
It is highly possible that we talk about writers block because we think everything we write has to be a product of our imagination. What happened to using our senses? To understanding our environment? It is when we lose so much connection with our environment that start writing about winters and summers we are yet to experience.
Tip: Write as soon as you can after the event when it’s still fresh in your memory.
- Take notes
Listen. Be observant.
Alternatively, you can make an audio or visual recording.
Get pictures that can help tell your story better. But remember to check and respect the photography policy before taking pictures.
- Have a short and catchy The title
Compare: ‘The Land of Bones Book Launch’ and ‘Love and more love as Tom Mwiraria launches Land of Bones’ and,
It could be a question.
Think about a title you, as a reader, can interest you enough to open a link.
The venue. The attendees. In moderation though so you don’t lose your topic.
But do not write everything the speaker(s) say.
- Play with tenses
If it happened, it is obviously in past tense but you can choose to make it more alive with a present tense narration.
- Be informative
This is the most important part.
Where did the event take place?
What was the event about?
What was the attendance like?
Why was it (is it) important?
Was it beneficial/ how?
What did you learn?
Do you think the event achieved its purpose? How?
Is it a frequent event you wish to sell to the reader?
Be specific and if possible, give examples to make it believable.
- Word choice
“It was fun” has no meaning in this case; same as ‘interesting, lovely etc. Let the reader see this through the actions.
Remember, you are ‘taking the reader to the event’.
- What stands out?
“We left at 6 a.m, toured the archives, saw different things….The event ended at 6 p.m” – That is the definition of boring.
I’ve never forgotten the sight of Muthoni wa Gichuru crying as she read from her story at the launch of a short story and poetry anthology she’d contributed to, titled ‘Moonscapes’. If I were to write about it, that would surely stand out.
- Clarity; you were there so you can’t afford to sound like you dozed through the event.
- Accuracy; still, you were there. Be as accurate as possible. You can ask for the presenter’s PowerPoint presentations or notes where applicable.
- Compelling; try to hook the reader. If the write up is boring, please let it just stay with you J
- Language; make it accessible to the reader. Consider who you are writing for, especially in the case of technical jargon.
- Stay away from clichés. For instance, if the speaker ‘was dressed to kill’, you might as well have been the first to die.
- Concise; leave out trivial details unless they are interesting enough.
- Do unto the reader what you’d like done unto you.
You don’t like reading boring articles, so…
- Rewrite. Edit
Refer to 11.
Remember, this is also part of your writing profile, quality is always important.
- Thank the organisers or sponsors.
If you are using social media while sharing, include the event tags.
NB: Our Writers Guild readers would love to hear of the events you attend (in and outside Writers Guild). Will you give them a chance to learn through you?
Send your event article to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of your own volition, take the initiative. And if I can give you a cliché example; It is the little things that count.” And, you never know who’s reading!
When you’ll be adding ‘self-driven’ to your CV, you won’t be lying.
Over to you dear writer…