Tips for Writing Features:
A feature article is an article that is about "softer" news. A feature may be a profile of a person who does a lot of volunteer work in the community or a preview of a movie about to hit the theaters. Like news writing, strong feature writing is simple, clear and orderly. But, unlike news stories, feature stories don't have to be written about events that just happened. Instead, they focus on human interest, mood, atmosphere, emotion, irony and humor. Here are some steps to follow to help you write a good feature story:
- Get the reader's attention quickly.
- Start with a well thought-out first paragraph touching on some aspect of the person's life that you are writing about or the event if it is not a person.
- Good feature stories have a beginning that draws in readers, a transition that might repeat it in the middle and an ending that refers to the beginning.
- Organize your story carefully.
- Feature stories can be told in narrative fashion or by sliding from event to event even though not in chronological order. Use careful transitions to maintain the flow of the story if you're not going to follow chronological order.
- Use short paragraphs and vary the lengths of sentences for effect.
- Reading sentences and paragraphs that are always the same length gets boring.
- Write with strong verbs and nouns, but go easy on adjectives.
- Try to draw a picture of your subject or event through your writing. Read the sentences below and think about which paints a better picture for your reader:
The man was tall.
The man's head almost brushed against the eight foot ceiling in the room. The ship sank in 1900.
The ship sank just as the first intercontinental railroad was nearing completion.
- Don't be afraid to use offbeat quotes.
- Not profanity, but rather witty things the person may say in response to a question about their success, life or family.
- Write tightly.
- You do not need to tell the reader everything you know on a subject or event. Tell only the most important things. It's better to write shorter than longer. A good feature can be done in 500-750 words.