Planning and Drafting Your Story

Course Overview

Planning and Drafting Your Story
Seminar Snapshot
Time Estimate:
About an hour

Poynter Prepared members pay just $19.96 for this course. Save 20 percent on this course and more by becoming a Poynter Prepared Member. Learn more and register now.

About Seminar Snapshots

A Seminar Snapshot features video highlights that capture the key learning of a seminar presentation.

Do you draft your story first? Or do you create an outline?

Deciding where and how all the elements of your story come together — creating a sound structure — is never an easy task. This presentation will help you identify common problem areas in story structure. Learn how to size up the elements of your story and arrange them to best tell the story without losing direction.

This presentation is part of a workshop that covers five important steps in the writing process: generating story ideas, collecting the facts and details, finding focus in your story, structuring your work and revising your writing.

The other presentations in this series are:

Generating Story Ideas: Seeing the Stories All Around You: Alexandra Zayas, general assignment reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, introduces you to proven techniques that will help you recognize and refine your best story ideas.

Hunt and Gather Details for Your Stories: Tom French, teacher and facilitator at The Poynter Institute and at Indiana University's journalism school, teaches you to research and report the kinds of human detail and vivid scenes that will make your writing come alive.

Finding the Heart of the Story: Tom Huang, Sunday and enterprise editor at The Dallas Morning News and adjunct faculty member of The Poynter Institute, presents essential writing techniques that produce compelling, sharply focused stories with strong underlying themes.

Mastering the Craft of Revision: Chip Scanlan, reporting, writing and editing faculty affiliate at The Poynter Institute, offers revision techniques that will help you identify problems in your stories and make the changes, big and small, that will make your writing stand out.

Check out the Training Package to purchase the entire five-part series!

What Will I Learn:
  • How and when to draft in the writing process
  • How to write an efficient outline
  • How to write more effective drafts
  • How to find shape your story through your draft
Who should take this course:

Reporters, editors, freelance writers, bloggers and anyone who wants to learn how to better organize and structure their writing.


Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, where he has taught writing since 1979. He is the author of the book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer and course on Poynter's NewsU The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use, and the book The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. His latest work includes the book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces, companion course on Poynter's NewsU, Help! for Writers and mobile app Help! for Writers. He is part of the one-day workshop, The Writing Process, offered through Poynter's NewsU. He also blogs and chats about writing tools on You can follow him on Twitter at @RoyPeterClark.

His newest book is How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.