Human interest means that which interests people. That could involve, writing about other people, children, animals, adventure or careers, to name a few. Human interest is based on emotion. Your article could convey excitement, happiness, joy, or humor, and it could be written strictly for entertainment. Regardless, you must elicit some emotional response from the reader.
Incongruity often means the unexpected. This could mean writing by using an anecdote with an unexpected ending that is humorous.
Features can be written in first, second or third person, unlike a news article that is written in third person.
In a feature, you can use slang (but not profanity or vulgarity). Above all, the feature’s language is casual and conversational. It’s as if you are speaking to a friend and telling a story.
Feature writing must be done in a style that is compatible with the content’s mood. If you are writing a feature about a contest, for example, the tone can be dramatic.
Think of yourself as a musician when you write a feature piece. Fast music can be staccato. If you are writing an action-packed feature in the first person about an adventure you went on, you could write in short, staccato sentences with punctuation such as commas, for example.
Slow music, on the other hand, has a flow of peace and meditation. You wouldn’t write in staccato sentences, if you were writing a feature about an artist who creates beautiful pottery. You would include much description with flowing sentences.
Language, along with sentence and paragraph structure, convey a particular mood. Description to the point of presenting personal opinion works well in a feature, as contrasted with the objectivity of news writing. The latter includes just the facts.
However, a feature article, like a news article, is factual. In all journalistic pieces, you can’t create facts. Remember, you are not writing fiction when you write as a journalist. While journalists refer to articles as “stories,” like news story or feature story, they don’t mean fiction. “Story” is just journalism talk.
To learn more about feature writing, read my other posts. You can also read my book, Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features, that has been a Featured Selection of Writer’s Digest Book Club.
Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.