Articles

Thursday, 20 September 2012 21:03

5 Questions to Ask About Every Article Idea Featured

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

5 Questions to Ask About Every Article Idea

I know a good idea when I see one. So should you. Dump those time-tested ideas you’re sending off to editors every other day, and find ideas that will get you the assignment each time, every time.

How do you know whether your brilliant idea will strike a chord and get you the assignment or land your neatly crafted query in the slush pile? Use the following checklist to find out whether you have a winner or another stale idea that the editor’s been rejecting since she set foot in her editorial office.

Here are some of the questions an editor will ask of each article idea:

What’s New?
If you’re writing for a pregnancy magazine, chances are the editor has already covered topics such as exercises and diet regulation. What are you going to say that stands apart? Can you provide a unique spin to these topics? If yes, you’ve just made sale.

Think different. Instead of talking about diet issues, list twenty food items that are to be avoided throughout pregnancy. Be innovative. Come up with topics you’ve never seen featured before.

Will the Reader Connect?
You may have the most innovative, brilliant and mind-blowing idea. Yet, it may lead to a rejection if you’re targeting the wrong market. Send an idea about getting over broken live-in relationships to a magazine in India, and don’t expect anything but a rejection. But send it over to a singles magazine in England, and you might have landed yourself an assignment. The first thing the editor wants to know when she lays eyes on your query is whether her readers will value your subject matter. If her readers won’t take to it, she won’t either.

Will it Keep me Captivated?
Picture this: I come home from a long day at work. While I relax on my couch, I could flick channels on the remote or pick up the magazine and leaf through the articles. My eyes rest on your piece. Is your piece intriguing and interesting enough to make me stay with you, or would I prefer to watch what’s on TV?

It’s every editor’s fear. That her loyal reader will ditch reading the magazine for something more interesting. And with the number of entertainment avenues available today, that won’t be a problem. In order to keep the editor (and the reader) keen on your idea, you’ve got to suggest something that will keep them wanting more. Does your idea have that virtue?

Is there a Surprise Element?
The more unexpected, the better. Readers love surprises. That’s why, editors do too. Surprise doesn’t always have to mean an anti-climax or a situation of complete irony. Surprises can be subtle, yet effective. Add a little known statistic or a funny anecdote in your article. Go out of your way to find an amazing fact or figure. Don’t go out of context though. There’s nothing worse than getting sidetracked from the theme of the article.

What’s in it For me?
What does the reader take home with her once she’s closed the magazine and gone her own way? Has she learnt a lesson? Will she take with her an experience? Will she be a better mother, daughter, wife or friend because of it? In every article that you write, this question should have the utmost importance. What can you give to your reader?

Making an impact is very important. The article idea that won’t sell is the one in which I’ll read through the article, but in the end, simply won’t care. You’ve got to give your reader that extra something. Something she can think about on her way to work. Something she’ll remember as she rests her head on the pillow and falls asleep.

Regardless of the kind of writer you are, your ideas are what make you a success. A good editor can fix the holes in your writing, but cannot flesh out your idea. That is something only you can do.

Editors love writers who consistently come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Being swamped with a dozen queries every day, most of them containing the same old ideas, they’re always on the lookout for writers who can provide a unique twist.

Keep a steady stream of ideas coming, run them through this checklist, and send them off. Before you know it, you’ll have more assignments than you can handle.


Mridu Khullar is a full-time freelance writer from New Delhi, India and has written for almost 70 publications, recently including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Writer’s Digest, Women’s Health & Fitness, Girls’ Life, Wedding Dresses and ePregnancy. Visit her at http://www.MriduKhullar.com

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com

 


Click here to return to the index of Articles


Read 462 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 November 2021 21:39

Comments powered by CComment

Latest Posts

  • The Creative Industry Needs to Look at Things Differently Post Budget 2022
    On 29 October 2021, the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz tabled Budget 2022 in the Malaysian parliament. RM50 million has been allocated for the arts and culture industry. This comes after a year and a half after the entire industry came to an absolute standstill. With…
  • ‘The Covid Positives’ – life lessons learnt from the pandemic by Phanindra Ivatury
    After a long drawn battle with the biggest catastrophe in our living memory, global humanity is finally getting to see some quintessential ray of light at the end of the treacherous tunnel in the form of COVID-19 vaccines, currently being rolled out to all parts of the globe. A ‘COVID-19…
  • Chaos of Whole Books
    Is it possible to read several books at once? Aneeta Sundararaj finds out. When I was a child, my cousin used to boast that he could read four storybooks at a time. As an adult, when he invested in an e-Reader, he continued to boast that he could…
  • Writing for You? Or for Me?
    Writing for You? Or for Me? ‘You must always write with your reader in mind.’ This was one of the first pieces of advice that I received when I began my writing career. Honestly, I found this extremely hard to do because more often than not, I couldn’t picture my…
  • One Book That Changed My Writing Life
    My latest novel, The Age of Smiling Secrets was shortlisted for two categories in the Book Award 2020 organised by the National Library of Malaysia. When I reflected on the journey that this book has taken, I acknowledged the enormous influence of one of my all-time favourite books, Joseph Anton:…