Feature Articles: Learn How to Humanize Them

Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality FeaturesWhat do we mean when we say humanizing the feature article? That can mean two things: writing in a human interest style, and often, dealing with incongruity.

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.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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One Response to Feature Articles: Learn How to Humanize Them

  1. emarofdidawn says:

    yay. I can write in first person.

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