How To Write Special Feature Articles Ebook
Title: How To Write Special Feature Articles
Author: WILLARD GROSVENOR BLEYER
This ebook is the result of twelve years' experience in teaching university students to write special feature articles for newspapers and popular magazines. By applying the methods outlined in the following pages, young men and women have been able to prepare articles that have been accepted by many newspaper and magazine editors. The success that these students have achieved leads the author to believe that others who desire to write special articles may be aided by the suggestions given in this ebook.
Although innumerable ebooks on short-story writing have been published, no attempt has hitherto been made to discuss in detail the writing of special feature articles. In the absence of any generally accepted method of approach to the subject, it has been necessary to work out a systematic classification of the various types of articles and of the different kinds of titles, beginnings, and similar details, as well as to supply names by which to identify them.
A careful analysis of current practice in the writing of special feature stories and popular magazine articles is the basis of the methods presented. In this analysis an effort has been made to show the application of the principles of composition to the writing of articles. Examples taken from representative newspapers and magazines are freely used to illustrate the methods discussed. To encourage students to analyze typical articles, the second part of the ebook is devoted to a collection of newspaper and magazine articles of various types, with an outline for the analysis of them.
Particular emphasis is placed on methods of popularizing such knowledge as is not available to the general reader. This has been done in the belief that it is important for the average person to know of the progress that is being made in every field of human endeavor, in order that he may, if possible, apply the results to his own affairs. The problem, therefore, is to show aspiring writers how to present discoveries, inventions, new methods, and every significant advance in knowledge, in an accurate and attractive form.
To train students to write articles for newspapers and popular magazines may, perhaps, be regarded by some college instructors in composition as an undertaking scarcely worth their while. They would doubtless prefer to encourage their students to write what is commonly called "literature." The fact remains, nevertheless, that the average undergraduate cannot write anything that approximates literature, whereas experience has shown that many students can write acceptable popular articles. Moreover, since the overwhelming majority of Americans see only newspapers and magazines, it is by no means an unimportant task for our universities to train writers to supply the steady demand for well-written articles. The late Walter Hines Page, founder of the _World's Work_ and former editor of the _Atlantic Monthly_, presented the whole situation effectively in an article on "The Writer and the University," when he wrote:
The journeymen writers write almost all that almost all Americans see. This is a fact that we love to fool ourselves about. We talk about "literature" and we talk about "hack writers," implying that the reading that we do is of literature. The truth all the while is, we see little else than the writing of the hacks--living hacks, that is, men and women who write for pay. We may hug the notion that our life and thought are not really affected by current literature, that we see the living writers only for utilitarian reasons, and that our real intellectual life is fed by the great dead writers. But hugging this delusion does not change the fact that the intellectual life even of most educated persons, and certainly of the mass of the population, is fed chiefly by the writers of our own time....
Every editor of a magazine, every editor of an earnest and worthy newspaper, every publisher of ebooks, has dozens or hundreds of important tasks for which he cannot find capable men; tasks that require scholarship, knowledge of science, or of politics, or of industry, or of literature, along with experience in writing accurately in the language of the people.
Special feature stories and popular magazine articles constitute a type of writing particularly adapted to the ability of the novice, who has developed some facility in writing, but who may not have sufficient maturity or talent to undertake successful short-story writing or other distinctly literary work. Most special articles cannot be regarded as literature. Nevertheless, they afford the young writer an opportunity to develop whatever ability he possesses. Such writing teaches him four things that are invaluable to any one who aspires to do literary work. It trains him to observe what is going on about him, to select what will interest the average reader, to organize material effectively, and to present it attractively. If this ebook helps the inexperienced writer, whether he is in or out of college, to acquire these four essential qualifications for success, it will have accomplished its purpose.
For permission to reprint complete articles, the author is indebted to the editors of:
The Boston Herald, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Evening Transcript, The New York Evening Post, The Detroit News, The Milwaukee Journal, The Kansas City Star, The New York Sun, The Providence Journal, The Ohio State Journal, The New York World, The Saturday Evening Post, The Independent, The Country Gentleman, The Outlook, McClure's Magazine, Everybody's Magazine, The Delineator, The Pictorial Review, Munsey's Magazine, The American Magazine, System, Farm and Fireside, The Woman's Home Companion, The Designer, and the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The author is also under obligation to the many newspapers and magazines from which excerpts, titles, and other material have been quoted.
At every stage in the preparation of this ebook the author has had the advantage of the co?peration and assistance of his wife, Alice Haskell Bleyer.
University of Wisconsin Madison, August, 1919
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