Feature Writers: Consider Your Description

Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality FeaturesWhen I taught  journalism, I harped on students to be more descriptive in writing features for publication. Below are some descriptive sentences that I’ve pulled from some of their papers:

1)  Soft drinks shoot out of a gun that looks like a prop from a cheap sci-fi  movie.

2)  His gray-green eyes are expressive behind his thick, black-framed lenses.

3)  The warm air is loud with crickets and a lush waterfall, despite the crush of tourists.

4)  I left him sitting in his smoke-filled living room, puffing away, with Brutus, his tiny meek dog, on his lap.

5)  There is a weightless quality to his hands that gesture with the grace of gulls in tandem.

6)  Strolling the boulevard,  a 60s Cadillac that stretches a half-block long, catches my eye. From the open window, I see a plush, slinky mink hanging on the shoulders of a gaunt, wrinkled-faced woman.

7)  His eyes, in deep gray sockets, were buried in the back of his head.

8)  He dines on Oysters Rockefeller, sips  a glass of white French wine at $25,  as his tongue darts in and out of his mouth, licking his upper lip.

9)  With a kitchen knife, he rips into his packaged brownies, and grabs a bowl of vanilla pudding coagulating in the refrigerator. Using a potato masher, he melts the goo into it.

10)  The award-winning professor with broad shoulders, cinder-sharp eyes, and military mustache commands respect from his humble students.

From the above examples, realize that you must constantly practice your observational skills to write entertaining features. It’s not hard, it just takes practice.

For more ideas, read my book, Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features. It  has been a Featured Selection of Writer’s Digest Book Club.

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: 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; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. 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 by Charlotte Digregorio." 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 regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. 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 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 am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and 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, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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