Article writing tips, techniques, strategies

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

12 Point Checklist for Writing Feature Articles

By: Jill Black

1. Have you selected your intended subject topic and carefully planned out your idea?

2. Have you sent your idea query pitch to magazines or newspapers who may be interested? or will you write "on spec"? With many magazines and newspapers now accepting material online it is now possible in many instances to email your queries directly to the publication. Have you read the publishers guidelines carefully to make sure if this method is acceptable? Before sending your query pitch:- Is it likely to be what the publisher needs: have you studied the publication?- Is the timing right. Have you checked the magazines editorial calendar? If it is a seasonal article is now the best time to send your query? If you have answered yes to these questions then package your idea into an attractive proposal and send it off to the editor of your chosen publication.

3. Have you adequately researched your topic?Read everything you can on the topic from all available sources - bookstores, newspapers, libraries, periodical indexes and internet sources. Never discard anything about your subject topic since you don't know until you write it up what you may actually want to use.Tip: Saving magazines, newspapers and clippings for the subject matter can save time when researching future writing assignments on the same topic or when working to deadlines. Catalogue all your collected material for easy reference.

4. Have you interviewed the key person/people you need for your proposed feature?Now it is time to organize your material into a feature article.

5. Have you discarded everything in your research except for factual information?Proper research and liberal use of factual material gives an original perspective to your feature article and also avoids the possibility of plagiarism.

6. Have you checked and cross-referenced your facts amongst your various sources.

7. Have you decided on the length of the article? Have you checked the length is suitable for the publication you are sending it to? Tip: Do not waste the editors time by sending a 2000 word article to a publication that requires articles between 500-750 words.

8. Will you use quotes in your article? Quotes and antcedotes bring a story to life. Are the quotes from a reliable source and have you double checked that quotes used are acurately recorded?

9. Do you have a good lead, middle and ending?

10. Have you proofread and edited your article to achieve the best possible version through re-writing your drafts to arrive at your final version?Have you made all corrections and necessary changes, have you checked spelling (this includes people and place names) grammar, punctuation etc?

11. If the feature is to be visual - have you provided the appropriate photographs, art work, line drawings, or other graphic illustrations to compliment your feature?This increases the payment amount you can expect to receive especially if you are a feature photojournalist or travel feature writer who can offer original photographic perspectives of your subject topic.Finally...

12. Have you included everything in your envelope before sending your article to the publisher (including photos properly packaged) or, if the magazine or newspaper excepts online submissions have you given everything a final check before hitting the send button?

For more resources and ideas for home business writers and/or self-publishers visit "Net Writing and e-PublishingSuccess" at


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