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Tips for Writing Features

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  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. nstead, they focus on human interest, mood, atmosphere, emotion, irony and humor. !ere are some steps tofollow to help you write a good feature story 1.Get the reader's attention quickly. o Start with a well thought-out frst paragraph touching on some aspect o the person's lie that you are writing about or the event i it is not a person. o Good eature stories have a beginning that draws in readers, a transition that might repeat it in the middle and an ending that reers to the beginning. 2.Organize your story carefully. o Feature stories can be told in narrative ashion or by sliding rom eventto event even though not in chronological order. Use careul transitions to maintain the ow o the story i you're not going to ollow chronological order. 3.Use short paragraphs and vary the lengths of sentences for eect. o !eading sentences and paragraphs that are always the same length gets boring. .!rite ith strong ver#s and nouns$ #ut go easy on ad%ectives. o   ry to draw a picture o your sub#ect or event through your writing. !ead the sentences below and thin$ about which paints a better picture or 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 rst intercontinental railroad was nearing completion. &.on't #e afraid to use o#eat quotes. o &ot proanity, but rather witty things the person may say in response to a uestion about their success, lie or amily. (.!rite tightly. o  (ou do not need to tell the reader everything you $now on a sub#ect or event. ell only the most important things. )t's better to write shorter than longer. * good eature can be done in +-+ words. riting Feature Stories  The best way to learn how to write a persuasive press release for a feature story is to read a lot of feature stories. Find feature stories written by the reporter to whom you plan on sending the press release. Try to tailor your information and writing style to the individual reporter. This will not work for every press release you write, especially if you are sending them to different places, but the strategy can work as a guide for your first feature press release.   In a feature story, just as in a news story, place the most important points in the first few paragraphs. Don't keep your audience guessing about your reason for writing. fter you make your point, you may want to provide more background information. !r, you may prefer to outline the background in order to better illustrate your point. Feature stories often concludein a circular way that refers back to the lead sentence, so use your conclusion to tie up any loose ends.  ach story will differ, so try writing several press releases emphasi#ing different points. Then,choose the press release that best conveys your message. $ou have much more freedom in pitching feature stories than you do in news press releases. %e creative and don t be afraid to try new styles of writing. &ave a colleague read and evaluate your press release, and give you feedback. Finally, edit, edit, edit. Then, spell check.  Notes on Quotations:  In feature stories, use uotations to humani#e your subjects. %y presenting the story in their own words, you can better reflect your subjects. Try to find memorable uotes that will move or surprise the reader. %y showing the reporter the depth of feeling inherent to the subject, you increase the likelihood that they will cover your suggestion.  )*a+ples of ,eature -tories   Example #1 The flames grew higher and threw orange and black shadows on the walls. !utside, the frigid wind brushed against the old house and entered through tiny passageways under the doors and around the windows. The battle between fire and ice raged on in the dwelling, with only an eighty(year old woman for witness and referee. %ernadette )oddel is a retired postal worker who now stays up nights trying to control the temperature in her old home. *ost nights, she says, she can t sleep because she has to tend to the wood stove in the middle of her living room. The stove is her only source of heat.   +There are some nights when I wake up and I think my feet about to free#e off,+ )oddell said. +nd so I sit in my chair, up real close to the flame, but then I get too hot. I just can't get comfortable in this house.+ )oddell and several others senior citi#ens in the )hicagoland area are about to get their homes weatheri#ed under a federal program that has been doing so since -/. 0)ontinue story with details about 1eatheri#ation...use an individual story to illustrate national trends and the overall effects of the 2rogram3  Example #2 t a 2arent(Teacher conference last spring, )arolyn Dunhearst learned that her daughter's performance in school was on the decline. Twelve year(old 4atie just wasn t the same energetic seventh grader who had started the year at 5incoln lementary. fter the conference, Dunhearst thought about the teacher's comments and 4atie's recent new and mysterious fatigue. 6he reali#ed that ever since they had purchased their first home and moved out of the old apartment, the whole family had been feeling sluggish. )oncerned, she decided to investigate. cting on advice from a neighbor, Dunhearst contacted 2eggy *iles, director of the 5incoln rea &ousing ssociation, which administers the federal 1eatheri#ation ssistance 2rogram. 1hen 1eatheri#ation auditors visited the Dunhearst s home, they discovered dangerous levelsof carbon mono7ide leaking from the ancient furnace. The carbon mono7ide could have eventually killed the Dunhearst family in their sleep if it had not been detected. Through their participation in the program, the Dunhearsts received a new, energy(efficient furnace and a number of other cost(effective, energy conserving measures. Today, the Dunhearts sleep comfortably, no longer worrying about the effects of carbon mono7ide poisoning. In addition, their house is warmer and their monthly utility bill has decreased by 89:.   0)ontinue story with details about 1eatheri#ation...use individual story to illustrate national trends and the overall effects of the 2rogram; include local and national data on carbon mono7ide poisoning3  /)01*23 G!)FF)S /*!42 )&G 5 067(!) )&G S2!8)02S9:: ;U&42! 3*&2 < 28*&S8)332,)& =9+ 716&2% >:9.=+?.:> < 2/*)3% /)42@G!)FF)S.&2 7age : o 9 Falling )n 3ove )s (our First /ista$e )t's 6ten ;etter to a$e a 3oss than to 1old a 3osing Stoc$ hen you buy a stoc$, never vow 'til death do us part. 2ven successul, well-$nown buy-and-hold investors li$e arren ;uAett sell stoc$s that no longer meet their investment criteria. ;uAet, or eBample, sold his stoc$ in US *irways ater it ailed to meet his eBpectations. hether you thin$ o yoursel as a day trader or a long-term investor, you must $now when and why you will sell a stoc$. !egardless o what you've heard, a stoc$ investment is not a lielong commitment.  (our )nvestments *re (our )nventory hen you invest, it helps to you thin$ o yoursel as a retail merchant, and to thin$ o your stoc$s as your inventory. * merchant buys inventory or the sole purpose o selling it. *s much as she might li$e her inventory, she doesn't become emotionally attached to the merchandise. She won't be cho$ed up when it's time to sell. 3et's use a clothier as an eBample. *s autumn approaches, our clothier buys a large selection o winter coats. )deally, she will sell as many o coats as she can beore winter
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