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    Featuring the Feature Story - Part 2

    As I promised, you’ll learn more about the feature article in this e-issue. This time, you will discover the different kinds of feature articles.


    Informative Features

    Perhaps the most written, an informative feature presents information. It can include figures, graphs, charts, photos and any other valuable source/s of information related to the topic being written about. An informative feature article may be written in a serious as well as a light tone. The writer can make use of special language (jargon) depending on his target readers. Examples of informative features are: an article on the latest findings about human cloning, an article about the results of a survey conducted on a particular topic, a piece on how to organize a stress-free party.


    How-To Features

    This is another common type of feature article. It is a practical guide to doing something or achieving a goal. This type is best written in a light tone for easier understanding. It should be direct to the point and written in easy-to-understand language. Examples include: How to hurdle your first job interview, one week to quit smoking, quick tricks to earn extra cash.


    Entertainment Features

    More commonly written in a light tone, this type aims to entertain; to provide comic relief. Entertainment pieces are great space fillers and are usually shorter than the informative pieces. It may be written using a first person point-of-view. It can be satirical in tone. Some examples are: Wacky ways to meet your possible better half, a satire on the political candidates running for a forthcoming election, how you trained your lazy cat to hunt for mice.


    Human Interest Features

    This type targets the emotions of the readers. The subject matter is simple but the writer elicits reaction from the readers through the use of language, tone and style. Examples are: a feature article on an adopted child’s colorful journey to trace his biological parents, how a poverty-stricken family started a community project that changed the lives of the whole neighborhood, a day in a shelter for the elderly.


    News Supplemental Features

    As the name states, this type of feature article supplements a news item. It should merely enhance and complement but not replace a news item. News supplementals stem from news articles. Examples are: a piece on how to detect a terrorist to supplement a news item about the latest terrorist attack, a supplement on the first successful heart transplant to complement a news item about the latest findings on heart surgery.


    Seasonal Features

    This type is dependent on the season. Examples are: an article on choosing budget-friendly gifts for Christmas season, Halloween surprises for kids, Valentine’s on a budget.


    Personal Account Features

    This type talks about a particular or unusual experience or achievement of the writer or somebody else as narrated to him. It is best written using a first person point-of-view by the person who actually had the experience. Examples are: a piece on the writer’s unusual collection, how the writer survived a natural calamity, a cancer survivor’s account focusing on her spiritual transformation.


    Personality Sketches

    Also known as the "Profile," this type of feature article brings out the subject matter’s distinct personality. It may be written in either a serious or light tone. While the personal account deals with an achievement or an experience of the subject, the personality sketch focuses on the person himself. Examples are: A celebrity as an ordinary parent, most cover stories of magazines, a write-up on a CEO celebrating his 90th birthday.


    Interview Pieces

    Interviews are conducted for different reasons. The writer may interview a person who is an authority on a subject matter to get information from him. An interview may be conducted to clarify an issue or even just to find out more about the interviewee himself as an individual. Thus, there are different kinds of interview articles depending on why an interview was conducted. Examples are: An interview piece on somebody who served as a celebrity’s bodyguard focusing on his experiences with the celebrity, an interview on the celebrity himself focusing on his latest project.


    Historical Features

    This type focuses on a historical event. The writer should ensure that the facts and figures he presents are accurate. Examples are: a piece on the September 11 World Trade Center bombing, an research piece on the atomic bombing of Japan during the second world war, a feature article on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


    Travelogues

    Usually written as advertorials, travelogues focus on destinations. Travelogues are best written using descriptive language to make the destination come alive in the readers’ minds. Examples are: Feature articles on mountain resorts, shrines and other tourist attractions.


    Interpretative Features

    This kind of feature is a writer’s interpretation of or opinion on a topic that may be social, economic, political, and controversial or even ordinary but relevant issue. Examples are: a writer’s opinion on pre-marital sex, a writer’s evaluation of a movie, an opinion piece on a controversial bill being passed in congress.


    Feature articles may fall under one, two or even more categories. For instance, a comic piece on different techniques to find an instant date for Valentine’s Day may be considered as a practical how-to, a seasonal article, an entertaining piece and a personal account all in one. Now, isn’t that so much fun -- and challenging -- to write?

    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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