Learning how to write good magazine articles will help you get published! These ten ways to write better feature articles for magazines will help you improve your query letters, pitches, proposals, and publication possibilities.
The Writer’s Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published series is an excellent resource for tips on writing magazine articles. Learn from the best!
“Never tell your readers what they should think about something. You may write about amazing things, but never tell them that something is going to be amazing,” says William Zinsser. “Just lay out the facts and let the reader say, ‘Wow! Imagine that!'”
That’s the classic “show, don’t tell” recipe in action – and that’s one way to write better feature articles for magazines. Read on for many more, and click on Don McKinney’s Magazine Writing That Sells for more in-depth info on freelance writing.
How to Write Good Magazine Articles
1. Learn the difference between “subject” and “story.” Anne Lamott’s writing tips are a subject. How Anne Lamott’s writing tips saved a dog from drowning is a story. This is a really important difference – one that I’m just now learning, after almost two years of freelance writing.
2. Don’t opine – just learn how to write. “Unless you are a recognized expert, your opinion is not relevant,” writes McKinney in Magazine Writing That Sells. “To support your points, quote real experts.” My Reader’s Digest editor also hammered this writing advice into me.
3. Do more research than necessary – it may be the good to writing good magazine articles . It’s better to have too much information – plus, you may be able to use your research in a different article. Caveat: don’t include everything you’ve learned! Pick out the most succulent points, and save the crumbs for later.
4. There is no one “right” lead. “The right one is any lead that grabs the reader’s attention and leads him or her into your piece,” writes McKinney in Magazine Writing That Sells.
5. Don’t take writing rejection personally. Need I say more? It’s business.
6. Avoid writer’s block by leaving unfinished business for later. For instance, don’t stop writing when you come to a natural conclusion. Instead, stop writing when you know what’s coming next and you’re eager to continue.
7. Remember three little words. “Even before writing the query, remember who you’re talking to,” writes McKinney in Magazine Writing That Sells. “At every stage of the process, from query to finished manuscript, remember three little words: Audience. Audience. Audience.” That’s a key tip on how to write a magazine article.
8. Remember that good magazine articles start with the first sentence. If you’re struggling with the lead, think about how you’d tell your story to a friend, advises McKinney. What are the most impressive things about your story? The one fact or event that stands out may be a good lead. “If it’s the first thing you’d tell a friend, maybe it should be the first thing you’d tell a reader,” writes McKinney in Magazine Writing That Sells.
9. Use different sentence lengths for different types of writing. If you’re describing action, use short, punchy sentences. For description, use longer sentences. Don’t forget to vary the length of your sentences.
10. Help your interviewees sound good! “No article has ever been published in which every word spoken is printed exactly as it was said,” writes McKinney. “You can cut. You can rewrite if necessary to make the speaker’s meaning more clear. You can rearrange the order in which the words were spoken – but you can never, never distort the meaning.”
For more magazine writing tips, read 15 Things You Need to be a Freelance Writer.
If you have any tips for writing good magazine articles, comment below!