Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The List Article

Posted by Linda

Imagine my surprise when I opened an email from a parenting magazine editor for whom I haven’t written in a long time. Perhaps my name surfaced because of the article I recently submitted on supplementing your children’s school curriculum through books. To my knowledge, she hasn’t used the list article and may not even plan to use it. 

What is a list article? It solves a problem, presents information and/or helps the reader. She assigned Baby Development Milestones (800 words). Problem - three interviews and six pictures from the Hudson River Valley area. She failed to realize I live in Colorado. Once I responded, she waived the pictures.

I have seven grandchildren but haven’t thought about baby development in a long time. However, she provided the idea, now I must expand it. An assigned idea requires fewer steps in writing/selling any article. Here are the steps I’ll use for writing this assignment.  

Step #1 – research
I can draw information from my own experiences and the three interviews. She recommended I interview people who comment on her Facebook page. I’ll also find experts, peruse books, and explore the Internet.

Step #2 – write the article
The introduction needs to be short and to the point. Personal experience can introduce the theme or subject. Then I'll choose one of four list styles for the body of the piece – helpful hint, problem solving, step-by-step, or general information. Since the assignment arrived Monday, I’ve only begun to research so will decide a style once I gather the information. 

Step #3 – conclusion
Four basic conclusions include (1) tie it back to the introduction; (2) restate the theme; (3) suggest the reader take the information and “go with it;” or skip a formal conclusion altogether. If I skip the formal conclusion, I’ll indicate it by stating “finally” in the last paragraph of the list.

I have my work cut out for me in order to meet the November 15th deadline. Have you written list articles? What steps did you follow?


Michelle Mach said...

I love writing list articles. Since I'm usually writing about topics in my niche, I usually write the list and a rough draft in one sitting. Then I go back and edit, doing research/interviews as needed. Not a method that would probably work for everyone!

Linda Osmundson said...

Sounds good to me. Thanks for the comments.

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