Add interest to your articles

Add Interest To Your Articles

As a writer, it’s your job to take control and stay in control of your story so that it is interesting to your readers.

You need to develop a strong narrative voice. There are two primary voices – first person and third person. In first person, the narrator is speaking directly to the reader. It’s about a personal experience. It uses the pronouns I, we, and our throughout.  In third person, the narrator is telling the story and can add a lot of additional information than the main character. However, there are 22 types of narrative voice. So be careful not to confuse the reader by switching between them inside your story.

Avoid a lot of jargon, clichés and buzzwords.

Keep the article moving forward by working on pace and flow. Do this through a supply of fresh and new facts that are introduced.

Use quotes. However, remember that to many can take away from their effectiveness. Quotes add color and detail to stories. They reveal interesting things about people. They help break up long passages of text. They are a great way to emphasize important parts and show examples.

Make sure you always provide attribution with quotes. Use said 90 percent of the time. 10 percent of the time you can use told, explained.  Amateurs use smiled, relayed, etc.

Avoid long quotes. And quote more than one person when possible. It adds credibility to the story.

Don’t rely on chronological order to tell your story. It’s predictable and bland. Start with the high point, then work backwards showing how they arrived there.

The Webster’s Third New International Dictionary contains some 470,000 words. However, if you look at all the words that have multiple meanings, some say there could be up to 1 million words used in the English language.  That gives you a lot of choices. So, choose active verbs and powerful nouns. Avoid is or was when possible. Omit unnecessary words. Keep your writing tight.

twain metropolis quote

But just in case you’re tempted to open the thesaurus, remember the golden rule of writing- never use a long word when a short one will do. To keep a reader’s interest, you need to write the way people talk. Before you write it down, say it out loud. If you wouldn’t use it in a conversation, you shouldn’t use it in your article.

Mark Twain might have said it best. “I never write metropolis for 7 cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same price for cop.”

Finally, the best way to be a better writer is to read. Read all types of stories, novels, and articles.

The structure of a story

The Structure of a Story

If you took a journalism class, you’ve been taught the pyramid concept of putting a story together. However, there are lots of things to consider as you being to write your story.

You always start with a lead.

There are many ways to intrigue your reader and create interest in your story. Try creating a picture in your readers mind. Use a visual scene. Bring in the human element. Ask a question. Give an interesting fact. Show controversy or conflict. Share a success. Tug at heartstrings. Highlight an unusual element.

Immediately following the lead, you need your nut graph. Tell the readers what they will get from reading your story. It’s basically the promise your story will deliver on. It will be the focus of your story.

The body of the story flows with the help of transitions and then finally, you have the ending.

You should save the best for last in the close. Bring the story together and tie it back to the lead.

Write Better

Write Better

Have you thought about combining your news style articles (the who, what, when, where and why) with interesting and entertaining feature style? This combined style adds information in a tight concise manner while still having the flair and appeal of a feature story.

More important than style is finding good and appropriate story ideas. Good stories will inspire you. In turn, your writing will be more interesting. Look for stories about people. People love to read about other people.

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Good writers are good interviewers. Rule of thumb is to interview three people for an article. Make sure you plan a list of questions before you arrive at the interview. You can develop a standard list of questions to use that will give you a glimpse into the person and their personality. Ask questions like: Describe your hobby, job, idea. How did you get started? What is unique about it? What are you doing differently than you were 5 years ago? Describe yourself.  What was the turning point? What’s next for you? Who else should I talk to?

Make sure you allow enough time for the interview. When possible, interview in person. Record the interview but take notes that key you to other questions. Meet outside the persons office if possible. Don’t interrupt them. It’s their story, let them tell it. After the interview, call back if you have follow up or something just doesn’t seem right.