Gold Coins Adding observation to your writing Jim Streisel Carmel (IN) High School www.hilite.org/streisel
Gold Coin Structure • 3 D’s Description What color are your source’s eyes? How tall is she? What mannerisms does he display as you interview him?
Gold Coin Structure • 3 D’s Detail What are the specific titles in your source’s music library? What’s in the CD player right now? What kind of car does he own?
Gold Coin Structure • 3 D’s Dialogue What does your source say when he’s not answering your questions? How does she respond to others? What do they say back?
The info between gold coins The nut graf/the point The angle of the story — what you want readers to think about.
The info between gold coins Expert sources These are the credible, relevant people who know something about the issue at hand.
The info between gold coins Research The data, statistics, facts and figures that give your story credibility and relevance.
The info between gold coins Transitions The words that take readers from paragraph to paragraph and scene to scene.
How many gold coins to have? Depends on the length of the story, but the most important gold coins are the first and the last.
When senior Jessica Green went back-to-school shopping last June, almost three months before the school year began, she thought she would get a jump on the competition. She spent more than $300 on several outfits, including almost a dozen midriff-reveraling shirts. Just a week ago, she found out that her pre-planning was all for naught. “I found out about the new policy and my heart jumped in my throat,” Green said. “I mean, almost everything I bought doesn’t meet the new requirements.” Gold Coin #1 Introduces readers to Jessica Green, one of many students who is or will be affected by the school’s new dress code policy. Gold coins in action
Green is not alone. Many students must reevaluate their wardrobes because of a new policy just passed at last week’s school board meeting. Now the dress code rules state that students must wear “tuckable” shirts. The point = the nut graf Illuminates the main idea/angle of the story, what the reporter wants to reader to think about. Gold coins in action
“That’s, like, everything I own,” junior Mary Skelding said. Skelding, like Green, shopped early to avoid back-to-school store crowding. In addition to shirts, students can no longer wear hats and they can’t don pants that reveal undergarments. “We had to do it,” Principal John Hawkins said. “I know there will be some dissention, but students’ clothes can certainly be a distraction to the learning environment, and we want to provide the best environment possible.” The path This is the “meat” of the story. Shares secondary source (Skelding) as well as expert source (Hawkins). Outlines the specifics of the new policy. Gold coins in action
But this explanation doesn’t help Green. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of these clothes,” Green said. “I can’t take them back because it’s been more than 90 days since I bought them. I guess I’ll just have to buy something else and wear these on the weekends.” Gold Coin #2 Brings the reader back to Green. Lets readers know that this policy affects people just like them. Also, when in doubt, end with a quote. Gold coins in action
Where are the gold coins? Next to the unfinished class float in the middle of a colorful mountain of crepe paper, senator and freshman Eric Stevens throws another glue-laden wad onto a growing pile of mistakes. “I don’t think I’ll ever get this right,” Stevens says quietly. “And it needs to be done by tomorrow.” Stevens isn’t alone in his frustration. Many freshmen said the pressure of the high school Homecoming takes away from the fun. “My homework is piling up,” Freshman Class President Ashley Jones said. “But I know I can’t do my classwork because I’ll be letting down too many people in my class.”
Where are the gold coins? For most freshman officers, this is their first glimpse of Homecoming festivities. And for many of them, according to class sponsor Rita Carson, the work is more than they can handle. “I’ve seen it before,” Carson said. “These are highly motivated kids, and doing a bad job is not an option.” But at the same time, she said, they don’t know yet how to prioritize their lives. Stevens said he agreed. “I thought Homecoming was supposed to be fun,” he said, his fingers coated in glue residue. “But now I’m not so sure.”
Stay in touch Jim Streisel www.hilite.org/streisel email@example.com