03 April 2015

How NOT to write an article

Having spent the whole of yesterday trying to "hurry up" with an article that was past its deadline, and tying myself up in knots in the process [that could easily have been left as "typing myself up in nots" ... are there freudian slips in typing?], here are some helpful hints for next time 

... if there IS a next time ...

1. Stick with Plan A - don't shift topics just before the deadline.

2. When finding photos on the web, make a note of all the details - title, year, materials, size - and make sure you have the URL.
2a. Write to the website owner immediately to ask for permission to use the photo. Do this at least a week before the deadline.

3. Start the research in plenty of time. (Maybe that should be part of point 1. Or go without saying.)

4. If the photos need resizing, indicate in the title that this has been done.

5. When making notes on an interview from a video, watch the video twice, preferably several days apart.
5a. Write down possible quotes exactly as said.
5b. Note the title and production details, eg year filmed.

6. If time is short and two interviews are available, it's likely the entire article can be written by stringing together quotes in some logical order, adding headings where helpful.

7. Go for the jugular - what's the main point of the article? Keep it in mind!

8. Be sparing with quotes, especially when artspeak is involved. 

9. Keep sentences short; and, for online articles, keep paragraphs short. 

10. Leave it for a day before giving it a final read-through, paying special attention to numbers.

(Have you been reading between the lines? Do you know how not to do it, now?)

1 comment:

Deborah C. Stearns said...

Good advice! I hope you were able to get the article done and unknot yourself.