Writing Successful Articles
By Dave Odell
The market for articles is greater than for any of the other traditional writing forms, and therefore really is one writers of all levels should investigate.
There are very many excellent books on the subject of article writing, and I suggest your read as many as time and opportunity allow. Many writers' magazines carry pieces on the craft of article writing, mostly written by highly experienced writers.
Articles take many forms, including:
Art of Living
This list is neither complete or definitive, an overlap between the kinds of articles mentioned is sometimes inevitable.
Considering the many types of article on our magazine and newspaper stands, it is perhaps stating the obvious to suggest that your market study must be at least as thorough as the research you put into gathering the facts for your article itself.
Approach the wrong market with an otherwise brilliant, well-structured article, with newly unearthed details,
and all you'll get is rejection!
Structuring the article
The structure of the article should look something like this:
This is a device employed at the beginning of the article, intended to draw in the reader and make them want to keep on reading. The most startling or interesting fact to emerge from your research is usually the one to use here.
Here we sum up as briefly as possible, what it is we are going to tell or show the reader in the paragraphs that follow. It is that part in which you convince the reader what follows will be of such interest, that setting aside the article is the very last thing they must do.
This is the main body of the article, in which you assemble, in a logical way, the points you wish to make. it is better to use five strong points than ten weak ones. Don't just throw information into the article because you have it at your disposal. The weaker points should either be discarded or combined with other points so they have some basis in your article.
Neither should these points be presented as a mere catalogue of facts. You have to make them intereseting to keep the readers attention, that is, if your manuscript ever gets past the critical eye of the editor.
Here you can sum up what has gone before as briefly and informatively as possible.
This is a short statement or anecdote that emphasizes the purpose of the article. The final paragraph should preferably be as hard-hitting as the hook, but if the most interesting fact has been used in the hook, then reserve the second such fact for the end.
Other Points to bear in mind
The title you give your article can play an extremely significant part in its chances of acceptance. A good title can attract the eye of a busy editor, and encourage him or her to read on, when the reverse might have been true had you presented even an excellent article with a mundane title.
Words are a writer's prime tool, and must be chosen with care. Always write in as plain a style as possible. You will not impress your reader using a vocabulary that sends them running for adictionary. They want to know what it is you have to say, not be bombarded with complicated words that rarely enter his everyday vocabulary. But your choice of these everyday words is of paramount importance and you should seek the exact word to convey your message.
In appropriate cases the inclusion of photos to illustrate your article can make all of the difference between rejection and publication. Many photographic libraries can provide the illustrations you require - though usually at a price. To save expense it is worthwhile learning how to take the photographs yourself, but obviously this could be a little difficult for certain subjects.
Remember, you are a professional writer. People are paying to read your words, make them worth every penny.
About The Author
Dave Odell has been a freelance writer since 1984, during which time he has lived and worked in Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp and London until recently moving to the north of England.
Though he has specialized in technically related matters his investigative skills has recently inspired him into writng articles and web sites on other subjects that he is interested in therefore expanding his knowledge in these areas.