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Creative Writing for the Online World
 
 
Creative Writing for the Online World

Twenty years ago, journalists were limited to TV or newspapers for writing jobs. But today, in the age of the Internet, almost anyone can write and publish articles. Also, almost anyone can write journalistic stories and find a venue to get them published.


Know Your Readers

The first rule in writing any article is to know your readers. If you have your own blog, and the theme of the blog is fashion, it's probably not a good idea to write about how to rebuild a car engine – even if you're dying to write the article. At the same time, if you're a blogger on a news site, or regularly contribute to an article bank or news site, you must realize that readers seek you out because of a certain topic that you write about.

This means if you establish yourself as a true crime writer because 90 percent of your articles are about true crime stories, don't venture over to celebrity gossip or sports.That's not what your readers want, and you can chase readers away. When writing articles, it's important to become an expert on your chosen topic or field. That's what builds readership and creates a following. It's okay to start out as a general article writer, but eventually you'll want to find a topic about which you feel knowledgeable and enjoy writing. It's the best way to establish yourself. It takes establishing yourself to truly become a successful writer.

Style and Flow

Style can be something very unique to each writer. Your personality -- or voice -- can come through in your writing. For example, two writers can write about a charity circus that's in town. One writer take a serious approach and is very concise, while another takes a witty, light-hearted approach and gives more details. Readers will prefer one or the other.They read for the information, but it's your style and voice that keeps them coming back to you. Style also can include the diction you use.

Your articles should flow. There's nothing worse than reading an article that's "choppy." An example of a choppy article is one where one paragraph doesn't lead to the next. Here's an example:

Tim Jones ran the 5k race last Thursday in New York City. After months of training, he managed to not only finish the race, but to place third. His mother and sister were at the finish line waiting for him.The race proceeds are to fund research into breast cancer, which his wife Linda is battling.

Kathy said it was cold outside that day, and she was tempted to sit in the car to wait for her son. Rain fell intermittently, and the wind gusted up to 20 miles per hour. Kathy, Tim's mom, wanted to enter, but knee surgery prevented it. Her sister died back in 1986 from breast cancer.

"I couldn't have done this without Linda," Tim said moments after finishing. "Knowing she's at home, cheering me on, kept me going, even when I thought my legs were going to give out."

As you can see, the second paragraph seems totally unrelated to the first when you start to read it. The third paragraph jumps right back to the original story. Make sure you keep on topic. Every article is a story, so tell it from beginning to end. Don't deviate.

Content

It can be hard to find a topic to write about that hasn't already been written by dozens of other writers. A good example is when a news story breaks. Within an hour, there are 20 articles on the Internet about this story. Your temptation, if you want to cover it too, is to write the 21st article. But refrain!

Content is king when you write. If you're going to build a readership, then you're going to have to write original content that readers can't find anywhere else. Think of a spin for an article that's already been written dozens of times. Find a new angle, or a different perspective. When you're 100 percent original, readers will seek out your writing. They may read a few of those other articles, but they will always search you out, because you're not simply recycling what everyone else already said.

The Inverted Pyramid

You should always follow journalistic style when writing an article. Even though an article is like a story, you must learn how to effectively tell the story so that readers get what they need from it. If you write an article like a short story, your readers will probably tend to find you too wordy, and perhaps even boring.

When you write articles, you should always use the inverted pyramid method. This means that all important information is contained at the beginning of the article, with less important information coming at the end.

Here's an example of the pyramid:

The first paragraph of an article should always have the who, what, when, where, and why answered. In our example below, you can see we've done that.

Tim Jones (who) ran the 5k race (what) last Thursday(when) in New York City (where). After months of training, he managed to not only finish the race, but to place third. His mother and sister were at the finish line waiting for him. The race proceeds are to fund research into breast cancer, which his wife Linda is battling.(why)

The next few paragraphs would have details supporting this information.

Tim trained for six months for the race after losing 100 pounds. He says his wife's diagnosis was his sole motivation.

"I couldn't have done this without Linda," Tim said moments after finishing. "Knowing she's at home, cheering me on, kept me going, even when I thought my legs were going to give out."

Then, end it with general information.

The 5k race is held every year in NYC. For information on next year's event, or to find a "Race for the Cure" near you, visit www.abcwebsite.com.
 
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