The story of all stories, the one that will give you the Pulitzer prize? Or just make an editor buy your idea? Get the ABC of the perfect article.
A – Amazing Idea
It’s as simple as that. A perfect story begins with a perfect idea. Anything less of amazing is not acceptable. Because, if you don’t love it, why would anybody else? An amazing idea will also help you in your work. It will naturally lend the form for the story and it makes it easy to write the article. An amazing idea answers the question How? instead of What? If you can put your idea in one sentence, you’re very close to perfection – you’ve distilled the essential.
B – Bad Idea
You know the idea is not quite what it should be, but what part of it is lacking? A somewhat less perfect idea is not current, there’s no style or clear narrator in it. This often results from a freelancer trying to sell the same piece of writing to too many channels without customizing it.
The idea must resonate with the reader. And if you are a freelancer selling articles, your first reader to please is the editor of the publication you’re targeting.
C – Clarity is everything
A good story has a clear style, there’s no ambiguity of whose voice it is we’re listening to, the focus is well-defined and the article gives an answer to one main question.
Easy to say, harder to accomplish
So, how do you get this perfect, amazing idea and article? It all begins with planning. Make a list of sources to get ideas: friends, social media, sports group, small ads on a notice board – an amazing idea can come to you anywhere, but most likely somewhere else than your desk. Be active!
When you have the idea, figure out the perfect focus and scope for your article. It is possible to make an interesting story about almost anything when you choose the right angle. Think out of the box!
Plan the structure of the article before you launch for the materials. What do you need for the story? Research? Interviews? Graphics?
When you have your materials, decide which elements work best in which part of the story. Make a skeleton of your article with the subtitles. This helps you find out if you need to rearrange the elements or whether the story is not flowing, even before writing it.
Decide the beginning and the end first. Then you know what you’ll need for the middle. The beginning is often the cutting point for a reader: to continue or not to continue. Thus, the beginning must wake up your reader, make him intrigued. The beginning also tells to the reader what to expect: what is the style, genre, topic… These promises must be redeemed in the article.
If you have time, let the article rest awhile before making the final polishes. You’ll then have fresh eyes to contemplate whether you’ve accomplish what you wanted. Another option is to have a second opinion. Get someone else read the article and comment it.