12 Point Checklist for Writing Feature Articles

Jul 19


Jill Black

Jill Black

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1. Have you selected your intended subject topic and ... planned out your idea?2. Have you sent your idea query pitch to ... or ... who may be ... or will you write "on spec


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,12 Point Checklist for Writing Feature Articles Articles 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

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

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

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.


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?