Writing A Feature Story: What To Remember
It is a well-known fact that students and even journalists find first feature stories one of the most difficult task throughout their educational or professional life. The writing process involves lots of data, honesty, tact and integrity.
You need to depict a certain person to the audience, giving him or her enough credits and presenting in an unbiased way. That is why feature stories often ask the author to do something almost impossible: to get familiar with the person, appreciate personal treats of character, conduct an interview, hold a personal meeting and then write an article, which shouldn’t be all positive and nice. Remember, you are a subjective author and not a cheerleader of a described person.
So how is it possible to balance everything? We have collected the six most important steps, which you will need in creating a feature story. With practice and devotion come great results, so take your time and you will surely succeed!
Choose a subject, which will be interesting for the reader
As you already know, choosing an interesting and timely topic for an assignment is the first and the most important step. However, everything is even more serious, when it comes to a feature story. You need to tell about a person, a certain group or a business, so picking a subject becomes a real challenge.
Some of the subjects you may know personally, which is not the best subject for a story. Even if you know who you want to write about, some founders, directors and business owners simply won’t want to talk to you.
Make sure you have enough time in advance in order to choose the subject without any hurry.
Schedule an interview, suitable for both of you
The next stage is when you dive deeper into the assignment. You should reach the chosen subject and ask for an in-person interview. This means a meeting, not a cell phone call or a Skype conference.
If you are writing about a group, you will have to talk to several members and maybe at a different time. This makes the process even more challenging.
In most of the cases, feature stories are not timely, so you don’t need to rush anything and should take some time to write a good story. Let the interviews take place when it is convenient for all of the participants.
The only exception is when the story took place recently and hasn’t been covered in the media. In such a case, you need to rush and be the first one to publish it.
Once your interview is finished, you need to sit down and reread the material, listening to recordings and pulling quotes.
The quotes you choose should be relevant to the topic and represent the chosen angle. Stick to a certain side of a personality and highlight it, omitting too many unnecessary details. This is the pillar, which will support your work and will make the story honest and clear.
Write a draft
Now you can start working on the first sample of your work. Usually, feature stories are built around the chosen quotes. Remember, the reader wants to hear the voice of the described person and not your own thoughts on the matter.
This means that you can include as many quotes, as you want. Even if half of your feature story will consist % of quotes, it will be ok. Always try to remember that the discussed subject should be placed in the center of the work, so the more details you provide, the better.
Get clarification and approval before publishing
When your story is finished, it is necessary to send it to the editor or professor. In addition, you can send a copy to the chosen subject if he or she requires it.
However, it doesn’t mean that the subject has a right to change the story or add any details. Make it clear that you won’t grant any changes because it is unprofessional. Simply send a copy and state that you want to make sure that all of the facts and quotes are correct.
For the subject, it is another chance to be introduced to the audience. Majority of writers think that it is the reason why the subject shouldn’t interfere and has a right just to notify if some of the details or facts are conveyed in a wrong way.
Submit the work
Once your editor, professor or the subject don’t seem to have any remarks, you can submit the story.