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    Home Columns

    Featuring the Feature Story - Part 1

    If you want to break into the magazine and e-zine scene, write a feature article! It’s not as hard as you think. As long as you know what you want to write about, how to write it, and why you want to write it, you can finish a feature article in about two hours -- even less.


    Makes Sense

    Choosing a topic for a feature article is not a problem. Just use your senses and you can easily come up with countless ideas for different kinds of feature articles.

    Let me illustrate: As you read this article, stop for a while. What sounds do you hear? If you hear music, perhaps you can write about the effects of piped-in music on the performance of office employees. If you hear a baby wailing, why not write an article about baby tantrums. So you hear a radio tuned-in to a news program? Write about the effects of exposure to violent news on kids. What about your sense of smell? Do you smell bacon frying from somewhere? Go ahead; write about some favorite breakfast items then. If you smell freshly mowed lawn, write about what pollution has done to Mother Nature and what the ordinary citizen (like you) can do to stop the abuse.


    Yours Truly

    Aside from what your senses perceive, another good source of ideas for writing feature articles is your own thoughts and experiences. Think back. What unusual experience did you have within the past week or month or year? Oh, you had an altercation with a store supervisor because you wanted to return a defective item you purchased. How about writing some practical tips to keep in mind when purchasing merchandise? This piece could include checking the labels, confirming if the accessories are included in the packaging, testing an item before paying for it and a lot more. And what about that long-lost friend you suddenly bumped into at the mall just two days ago? Why not write about how to maintain a long distance friendship through the years?


    Empathy, My Dear

    If you don’t want to write about your own experiences, then write about other people’s experiences! Your neighbor discovered that her husband is having an affair. Why not write about the S.O.S. signs of a philandering partner? Your seven-year old nephew got bitten by a dog. Write about a dog owner’s moral and legal responsibilities!


    Whazzup?

    The news. That is one great source of ideas for writing feature articles. Start from a "hot" topic so that you can catch more readers’ attention. If you are abreast with the times, then you can shuffle from writing news features to human interest stories, to interview pieces. News features supplement and/or enhance news items. For example: You can write about the symptoms of bird flu to supplement news about the latest statistics on bird flu. An article on Saddam Hussein’s favorite foods can enhance a news item about his condition in jail several weeks after his capture. Readers love to read such interesting pieces.


    Explore

    Research is another way of finding topics to write about. If there is something that interests, intrigues or challenges you, then find out more about it! Let us say you are amused by your granny’s unusual behavior since she contacted Alzheimer’s disease. Why not research about that disease and then write a feature article about what you learned? Other people will even benefit from your curiosity!


    Imagine

    Your imagination is one more good source of topics for possible feature articles. While you are relaxing, ask yourself that one universal writers’ question: "What if...?" For example, "What if I want to earn an extra five thousand bucks in a month?" From that question, let your imagination go wild. Think of as many ways to earn additional income as you can and then come up with a feature article on that!


    Now that you know where you can get ideas to write about, you can start conceptualizing *how* you will write your piece. The tone and the form of your article must suit your target readers.

    You will learn more about feature writing next issue, so keep reading, folks!

    Copyright © 2004 Lizzie R. Santos

    Lizzie Santos writes features, literary pieces, scripts and other writing projects both in English and Pilipino. She also lectures at creative writing workshops. Her first book, The Laughter of the Leaves and Other Musings, was published by Giraffe Books. She is working on her second book. Contact her at liz_pages@yahoo.com.

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



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