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    5 Questions to Ask about Every Article Idea

    I know a good idea when I see one. So should you. Dump those time-tested ideas youíre sending off to editors every other day, and find ideas that will get you the assignment each time, every time.

    How do you know whether your brilliant idea will strike a chord and get you the assignment or land your neatly crafted query in the slush pile? Use the following checklist to find out whether you have a winner or another stale idea that the editorís been rejecting since she set foot in her editorial office.

    Here are some of the questions an editor will ask of each article idea:

    What's New?

    If youíre writing for a pregnancy magazine, chances are the editor has already covered topics such as exercises and diet regulation. What are you going to say that stands apart? Can you provide a unique spin to these topics? If yes, youíve just made sale.

    Think different. Instead of talking about diet issues, list twenty food items that are to be avoided throughout pregnancy. Be innovative. Come up with topics youíve never seen featured before.

    Will the Reader Connect?

    You may have the most innovative, brilliant and mind-blowing idea. Yet, it may lead to a rejection if youíre targeting the wrong market. Send an idea about getting over broken live-in relationships to a magazine in India, and donít expect anything but a rejection. But send it over to a singles magazine in England, and you might have landed yourself an assignment. The first thing the editor wants to know when she lays eyes on your query is whether her readers will value your subject matter. If her readers wonít take to it, she wonít either.

    Will it Keep me Captivated?

    Picture this: I come home from a long day at work. While I relax on my couch, I could flick TV channels on the remote or pick up the magazine and leaf through the articles. My eyes rest on your piece. Is your piece intriguing and interesting enough to make me stay with you, or would I prefer to watch whatís on TV?

    Itís every editorís fear. That her loyal reader will ditch reading the magazine for something more interesting. And with the number of entertainment avenues available today, that wonít be a problem. In order to keep the editor (and the reader) keen on your idea, youíve got to suggest something that will keep them wanting more. Does your idea have that virtue?

    Is there a Surprise Element?

    The more unexpected, the better. Readers love surprises. Thatís why, editors do too. Surprise doesnít always have to mean an anti-climax or a situation of complete irony. Surprises can be subtle, yet effective. Add a little known statistic or a funny anecdote in your article. Go out of your way to find an amazing fact or figure. Donít go out of context though. Thereís nothing worse than getting sidetracked from the theme of the article.

    Whatís in it for Me?

    What does the reader take home with her once sheís closed the magazine and gone her own way? Has she learnt a lesson? Will she take with her an experience? Will she be a better mother, daughter, wife or friend because of it? In every article that you write, this question should have the utmost importance. What can you give to your reader?

    Making an impact is very important. The article idea that wonít sell is the one in which Iíll read through the article, but in the end, simply wonít care. Youíve got to give your reader that extra something. Something she can think about on her way to work. Something sheíll remember as she rests her head on the pillow and falls asleep.

    Regardless of the kind of writer you are, your ideas are what make you a success. A good editor can fix the holes in your writing, but cannot flesh out your idea. That is something only you can do.

    Editors love writers who consistently come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Being swamped with a dozen queries every day, most of them containing the same old ideas, theyíre always on the lookout for writers who can provide a unique twist.

    Keep a steady stream of ideas coming, run them through this checklist, and send them off. Before you know it, youíll have more assignments than you can handle.

    Copyright © 2003 Mridu Khullar

    Mridu Khullar started out as a student in Technology but ended up writing instead. Now Mridu's technology sessions are limited to designing websites and removing food bits from the keyboard. She is the Editor-in-Chief of and her work has been accepted in numerous national and international publications such as Computers @ Home, Senior Connection, India Post, College Bound, Metro Seven, Writers Weekly and the anthology Life's Little Lessons among others. Subscribe to her newsletters and get ebooks with over 400 paying freelance markets and 100 ebook publishers absolutely FREE! Reach Mridu at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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