Articles Farticles – Dos and Don’ts of Article Writing

Like with anything in life, there is a lot you can get wrong in article writing. However, there is also a lot you can get right. Here’s a just a few ways to make that submission tippy too and (hopefully) it’ll be accepted!

Do:

– Include what the submission wants. If they’re looking for articles between 800-1000 words, don’t send them a 700 piece! Likewise, a 2000 word essay won’t go down well, either.
– Send your work to the right place. There’s no point in sending something to the national newspaper when it’s more fit for the monthly Parish newsletter. Likewise, if you’re submitting sex advice, don’t send it to The People’s Friend!
– Be patient. It can take hours, days, weeks, even months for a reply as to whether you’ve been successful or not. If it’s a letter you’re sending in, you may not even get notification about it! Don’t harass the editor – it might just make them annoyed. I know I would be.

Don’t:

– Make it inappropriate. It’ll just be binned.
– Send something into two places at once, unless you have confirmation it hasn’t been accepted at the first place. It could affect your rights.
– Break the rules. This is much like the first point. If 800-900 words is asked for, don’t give them less or more. Don’t think you’re being quirky or individual, because they will just see it as someone who can’t be bothered to adhere to the rules other people would have worked hard to reach. It’ll just be binned and you might not be thought of again for that corporation.

Good luck when sending in your articles. If you don’t get accepted, don’t fret. Remember when I wasn’t? See it as a learning curve. A chance to try something else out, or even send the same article to a different place.

And that brings us to the end of our article escapade. I hope you enjoyed it. Now go out and write an article! *yay!*

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀

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Articles Farticles – Where To Send It (Pitching)

So, you’ve written yourself an article. Great! But…now what do you do with it?

Well, there are options. Eat it. Give it to your dog/cat/goldfish. Ask the nice old lady down the road if she’ll read it (alternatively, you could go for the grumpy old man next door). Or…maybe you could get it out there, into the big, wide and scary world.

Sending your writing in for consideration to print is scary. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and got the terrified diary entries to prove it. But how else is someone going to read it if you don’t try?

When you send something in to be published, you have to choose your audience carefully. There’s no point in sending your adult novel to a children’s publishing press – likewise, there is no point in sending a picture book to a newspaper. Because they just won’t print it. So it’ll be wasted. Right?

Top Tip! Get a few of the most recent copies of the magazine/newspaper you want to send your stuff in. That way, you know exactly what they’re looking for. Also, you know if something has already been published, so you don’t pitch something that they’ve already had.

If you’ve written something, you should know who your audience is, and that means you know who wants your book/article/letter. If you don’t, a quick Google search (for example, if you simply search ‘Romance publishers’, a whole torrent of them come up).

When you send in your article, make sure you add in your name, email and any other information the magazine/paper/whatever has asked for. Include something like your Twitter username, if you want.

You have to wait for a few weeks for an answer most of the time. Be patient, keep writing. If it is rejected, then just think of it as a learning experience. Hopefully, they’ll tell you why they rejected your article, and may even offer tips in case you want to send something else in.

Pitching is important in articles. There’s no point in sending someone in a 2000 word article if they then reject it. All your hard work, for nothing.

I’m going to be honest: I’ve never properly pitched something. I’ve only ever had one workshop in it, and that was film pitching. But, I’m going to guess it’s basically the same thing.

How many words do you think you have to pitch an idea? 200? 100? 50? Wrong! 25. 25 measly words. For the film script I did in July, the pitch could be: “A gay guy who leaves his female fiancĂŠe at the alter, and runs away to become a temporary art teacher.” Thing about your main idea/theme you want to convey and try and put it into the smallest amount of words possible.

Once I actually start pitching I’ll probably do another post about it. But I’ve done a quick Google search, and found that you basically do what I said above, then add in about 100 extra words of context beneath it. Put in relevant writing credentials, add in extra information about the tag line.

Alternatively, you could send in the entire article, but this could be a few hours of your time, so perhaps it’d be better if you got the all-go sign. Or, you could write something that could be sent into lots of different magazines, so if one fails, you have back ups.

Good luck!

Questions, thoughts, comments? Shoot! 😀 

Articles Farticles – Relevant Information and How to Get It

When writing an article, you need to have the relevant information in order to, well, write it. But where can you get this information from?

You can get interviews: ask the person or persons a list of questions, note the answers, or things they say; if you’re lucky, you can use a dictaphone, but remember that transcribing can be a lot of work. Alternatively in an interview, you can set the person off talking and just record what they say. This can provide lots of material, but you might not get the exact answers you want.

Other articles! It’s not technically cheating: just remember to reference the original article somewhere in it.

Listen to the news, be it on the radio, or the TV. There’s a whole torrent of information on there.

There’s interviews, online, books, in passing (eg talking to people), speeches, newspapers… Literally, everywhere. But with so much information it’s hard to condense it down into stuff that’s useful, and stuff that can be chucked away.

Imagine you’re reading the finished article. What do you want to know? Great! Now you know what to put it. Highlight, write it in a new list, do whatever you have to do. Make sure you only put in the information you’d want to read; and, hopefully, it’ll be the stuff that your readers will want to read too.

When you actually come to write the article, include as much relevant, pressing information as you can at the top. Your readers don’t want to have to read the entire thing before they get the actual stuff they want. They want to know the basics first: who, what, why, when, where and how. Then, you can sprinkle in other snippets before finishing with a flourish.

Information can be difficult to obtain. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try thinking outside the box. For example, if you want to interview a writer, but can’t find one who would be willing to do it, look elsewhere. Drop a notice into your local library. Ask around and see if any of your friends or family have a connection. If all else fails, you’re a writer, right? Use yourself!

If there’s not an article out there for something, chances are yours could be the first, so make sure you have all the top-notch info. Then, pack in some other stuff around it, keep your readers wanting more. Imagine it as a parcel in a cardboard box. The cardboard box is the overlay, the title if you like, or the basic facts. The polystyrene bits that you squidge in your hands is the meaty stuff, things that some readers will read and others will flit over. And then, inside, is the thing you actually bought from the store: the DVD, the remote control, the new set of Christmas lights or the penguin. The gem. That’s the things you readers want most of all. The ‘climax’ to your article, if you fancy. Get it all in, and voilĂ ! You’ll have something to give to the delivery man.

As I’ve said before, include the information you want, and, chances are, your readers will want it, too.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀 

Articles Farticles – Structure and Presentation

Articles, interviews, features. We see them every day, be it in a newspaper, magazine or online. But how do you write them? Well, in this four-parter (the next in the coming weeks) I’m going to tell you.

First up: structure and presentation.

Your audience want to see a nice looking article. If it’s completely out of order and they’re unable to understand what the Jolly Roger is going on, they’re not going to read it, not going to pass it on, and they’ll probably give you a bad comment if it’s online. Presentation is what they look for: paragraphing, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and if you have pictures make them pretty.

Speaking of pictures; if you are going to use any, make them relevant to what you’re writing about. Don’t do what I do and include pictures of spoof L’Oreal adverts where they’re not wanted (unless you’re writing for BuzzFeed. In which case, they probably are wanted).

Let’s face it, though: Orlando Bloom is GORGEOUS.

Moreover, don’t fill your article with random bits of odd-looking text. It’ll turn your audience off. Often, in news articles, text is only bolded if it’s a date, a name or an important fact. I’m not saying there are rules to this, but just make sure you don’t go completely overboard, you know, emphasising every bit of unnecessary text.

Now, to structure. This article has a structure: I’m doing presentation then moving onto the next bit. Notice how I haven’t fitted in parts about structure into the presentation bit, and I won’t do it the other way around.

Articles aren’t necessarily completely chronological (the events are written about in the order they happened in) but they have to have some structure. If it’s easier, you can use subheadings or bullet points. You may be writing about an event that happened in 2014, but something important that happened in 2002 needs to be mentioned. You don’t need to start with the 2002 bit (unless that’s where it needs to go) but make sure that it’s not jammed in when you’re talking about another important thing that happened in 2013, for example.

A reader also needs to be able to follow the structure. Don’t skip to far ahead so that they lose track, and don’t jump around too much between dates and events. Have it run smoothly, and their reading will go smoothly.

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule; if your article calls for it, jam that piece of 2002 information into the 2013 section, go wild and bold and italic random sections (if you’re a real hardcore, you can even go for underlining!). I’m not the perfect journalist (yet, anyway!). I’m just an amateur who enjoys writing articles and (perhaps) helping other people with my random pieces of advice.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀

Others:

  • Relevant Information and How to Get It
  • Where To Send Your Article/Pitching
  • Dos and Don’ts for Article Writing

First Printed Article!

Wow, ok. So, I got home today to find our district’s ‘Parish News’ on the counter. I sent in an article about my Explorer Troop (Phoenix) a while ago – and it got printed!

So yes, this is my first ever printed article in a magazine. 🙂 It had two of my pictures in in the actual article – and then one in colour on the back!

I was very pleased. ^_^

Anyone here been printed?

NaBloPoMo Index

Sorry the pictures are a bit blurry – they were taken on my phone.

The article :)

The article 🙂First ever article colour photo