Susan Walton’s writing workshop had the Jacob Spori Building filled with students ready to learn how to improve their writing skills on Feb. 6. As Walton got up to speak, the room grew quiet.
The first thing Walton, a communication professor who teaches public relations as well as event management, taught in her workshop was the difference between featured and news stories. She earned a bachelor’s in independent studies and a master’s degree from BYU.
“You can insert your opinion in featured stories,” Walton said.
She continued to explain the reasons why delayed leads are ideal for featured stories. Featured stories are flexible, which can enhance creativity in writing, while news stories are direct.
Walton taught about the different ways to catch the audience’s attention in stories, by following nut graphs and connecting the lead and the point of the story together.
During the second half of the workshop, she had students come up with their own delayed leads.
Walton split the students into three groups as she handed out three-story topics which included a car crash involving teenagers, high school sweethearts who broke up over Thanksgiving weekend and about a survey showing how younger generations do not launder or repair clothing, unlike older generations.
With this activity, she had the students come up with different ideas on how to create interesting and fun leads for their new stories. Afterwards, students got to share their work with the rest of the class.
Walton used the projector to showcase each lead. This gave the students a chance to read what other students wrote.
“I learned about the importance of holding the audience’s interest through strong storytelling and experiences that are long enough to explain but short enough not to bore,” said Tyler Meisel, a senior studying communication.
For any students that missed out on this writing workshop and want to attend an upcoming one, Stephen Henderson will be hosting the next one on March 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the Spori, room 35.