Sean Spaulding
Sean Spaulding
Sean is interning at The Elkhart Truth over the summer. In his blog, he'll write about his experiences through the internship, how his editing skills have improved and his transition from high school to the real world.

Sean wishes to continue his career in writing, focusing on spoken word poetry. In the last four years, Sean has written more than 130 poems. He plans to hopefully help the world with his words.

He may not really be a paperboy, but he certainly plans to deliver.

What a high school intern can learn about writing and editing at The Elkhart Truth

High school intern Sean Spaulding takes a look at the process of writing.

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.

People have a tendency to think writing is a simple task. False.

As a poet, and intern for The Elkhart Truth, I know that there are many rules you must learn in order to be a successful writer and have good editing skills. 

These rules you learn through stages. Just as a baby learns to crawl before it can walk, you must learn the many styles of writing. The style of writing that is used at The Elkhart Truth is AP style, or Associated Press style. Working on obits -- obituaries -- I’ve found it’s been a great way to learn AP style. They are difficult at first -- when they’re submitted they don’t always adhere to AP style, so you have to have a good grasp on the rules to edit them well -- but as you progress it becomes a common way of writing. You begin to memorize the AP style rule book and, from there, you can edit an obit with ease.  

After you have written your story, poem, or whatever you choose to write, it is now time to edit your work. There are three key factors to editing: grammar, voice and style. Many times have I trampled over these factors with my writing, causing my grade in English class to magically go from an A and tumble down the alphabet to a C or a D. This, as you can imagine, was not fun.

One of the first things that I learned at The Elkhart Truth was voice. Voice is the distinct personality of the author expressed through their writing. This applies to any kind of writing. Syndicated columnist Dave Barry shows this by using a comedic approach in his writing. His choice of words also show his voice. Similarly, whether the author uses contractions or not is another example of voice. As you can see, voice is a variety of things within a persons writing. 

Next is the factor of style. As said previously I’ve improved my style at The Elkhart Truth by working on obituaries. If the style of your writing doesn't fit with what you are writing, then you may want to consider a new style; you wouldn't want to write an essay in the style of a poem. 

Last, but not least, the factor of grammar. Grammar is important not in just writing, but in speech. A very disturbing, but good example, would be the classic: “let’s eat, grandma” versus “let’s eat grandma.” Without that coma you turn into a cannibal. Grammar is very important, especially within The Elkhart Truth. If grammar was not implemented at the newspaper I can guarantee there would be some weird stories on the front page.

With the opportunity I have been given to intern at The Elkhart Truth I plan to improve the poems that I write. As The Paperboy, I plan to deliver to the public all of the things I learn through this program. 

Remember, writing is not as easy as you think.


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