Give special attention to your lead-in paragraphs before you quote people. These can use up valuable space when you have a 450-word limit. If you’re just recycling the quote by using different words to create an intro paragraph, you’re wasting space.
Example John Johnson is angry at the collection agency over the seizure of his car Monday and said he will challenge the action in court. The agency says Johnson owes $10,000 in outstanding fines. “I’m really mad about this,” Johnson said. “They had no business taking my car. I’m going to fight this in court.” Word count: 54
Space is at a premium. Doublecheck your lead-in paragraphs to quotes. Ask yourself: Am I progressing the story, or just repeating what’s coming next? Don’t over attribute in lead-in paragraphs. If it’s a fact, let it stand alone. And then make your quotes do their own work.
Example The collection agency seized John Johnson’s car Monday over unpaid fines totalling $10,000. “I’m really mad about this,” Johnson said. “They had no business taking my car. I’m going to fight this in court.” Word count: 34