Writing your Sporting Story
The guidance here is tailored for the Stoke on Trent Sporting Stories project: for more general advice see here.
+ Tip #1 Getting started
If you want to write something but don’t know where to start, why not do some sport and write some notes about it immediately afterwards. That could form the outline of a story of the event.
+ Tip #2 Some questions that may help
Write down the answers to these questions, and build up a story this way – remember to add some human interest and emotion.
• Who are you?
• Where are you from?
• What is your first memory of doing or watching sport?
• Are you sporty now?
• Which sport do you have a story about?
• Write about a match, or game, or competition, or class.
• Describe a particular moment that sticks in your mind.
• Did you win? Or lose? Or just take part?
• How did you feel after the match, or game, or competition, or class?
• What are you going to do next? Will you continue this sport? Will you try another?
+ Do you have a deadline for submitting Sports Stories?
There’s no deadline – for our Stoke on Trent project we’re collecting stories for the whole of 2016 and actually through to at least the end of 2018. We hope to have several books’ worth of contributions which are good enough to publish over that period.
The 2016 book will come out towards the end of this year, once we have enough material for it. Publishable stories which don’t make the 2016 volume will roll forward for inclusion in 2017’s volume.
+ What are the criteria for stories?
Stories have to be factual, your own original work and suitable for a wide audience. A first-hand account of your own sporting experience is ideal, preferably as a participant – but it could be a match you watched, a race you volunteered at or your feelings on supporting a son or daughter in their first competition.
Stories work best if there’s a human element – a bit of humour, pain, frustration or elation goes a long way. A blow-by-blow or kick-by-kick account of a match or game is unlikely to be a great read even for the most ardent fan, unless you can add something extra to it.
Short stories work as well as longer ones. 1,000 words is a good length, but it’s up to you: a one page poem or a 5,000 word marathon story can be equally good in their own way.
And there should be a Stoke link – which can simply be that the writer is from Stoke on Trent, or is writing about an event in or around Stoke on Trent, or was born in Stoke on Trent and their love of sport has its roots here.
+ What can I write about?
You can write about anything sport related, as long as it is suitable for a wide audience. Recounting first-hand experience of competing is great, but you could also write about a trip abroad to support a club or follow a tournament.
We want a human perspective – not just factual match reports. What made you happy? Or sad? Cry with laughter? Or with pain? Or frustration?
+ Can I get help in writing?
We will be running workshops on writing on a regular basis through the year - so follow us via twitter or on Facebook for more information. But there is no right or wrong style – we’d love to hear your ‘voice’ through your own writing style.
+ What counts as a story?
Any original piece of writing. It could be a story, a poem, a screenplay – whichever format you feel best captures your experience.
+ How long should my story or article be?
As little as half a page, as much as twenty pages (or roughly 10,000 words). But don’t worry if you feel you’ve got a book in you – we’ll be happy to use an extract to showcase your writing as long as it meets our general submission criteria.
+ Do I have to be an active sports person?
No. But we’d love it if you are (or were) and can talk from first-hand experience. But we are equally happy to hear from ardent spectators, supporters and family members, as long as you’ve got an entertaining experience to write about.
+ Do you have some examples of stories I can read?
Yes – see here.
+ Can I submit photographs to add to my story?
Yes! Please ensure that you have consent from the photographer first. Also check that you have consent of the subject and if they are under 18 years the permission of their parent or guardian.
Please send your photos into: email@example.com making sure that you mention the title of your story.
We're also happy to receive sports-related photographs to publish on our galleries - click here for more details.
+ How can I contact Sporting Stories?
+ Do I have to come from Stoke on Trent to contribute a story?
There should be a Stoke link – which can simply be that the writer is from Stoke on Trent, or is writing about an event in or around Stoke on Trent, or was born in Stoke on Trent and their love of sport has its roots here.
If you work in Fenton and you did an Ironman in Hawaii in 2003, we’d love to hear about it. If you’re from Lima in Peru and you did the Potter’s ‘Arf this year, tell us about it.
+ What Sports can I write about?
These are the numerous sports which are supported by Sport England.
But if you can write entertainingly about a sport not on the list then do – we’re happy to consider other sports as well.
If you want to write about the pleasures of hill-walking, jogging, or how a fitness class has changed your life for the better, then do – we’d love to hear about it.