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. 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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