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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Hungry for Nonfiction? Try this Recipe!
by Marilyn Freeman


Want to cook up a tempting nonfiction article? Want to write an article so tempting an editor canít turn you down? If you choose the right ingredients this can happen. When cooking up a nonfiction article you canít skip steps. Just like baking a cake, leave something out, and the cake is a flop.

Have you ever tried to copy a recipe but thought maybe you could just change it a little? You say to yourself, "How could it hurt? No one will notice!" Believe me they will. Once, in an attempt to make cookies, I tried to substitute oil for butter and what a mess! The cookies ended up in the garbage and I had not only wasted good food but my time and energy.

My father had a saying, "If youíre going to take the time to do something, do it right!" This saying can also apply to writing an article. If you leave out useful information or try to cut corners, your article will flop. When writing an article donít try to scrimp on ideas or valuable information. While cutting corners you are also cheating the reader. Here are the ingredients you will need.

Ingredient #1: The Subject
Choose a subject that interests you. If you care about the subject, that will make it easier to write. Do you remember when you were in school and how boring the subjects you hated were? Every part of those  classes was pure torture. Writing about a subject you have little or no interest in would be torture too. It would be torture for you as the writer and torture for the reader. Instantly a reader would lose interest and most likely never completely read your article.

Your enthusiasm, or lack of, will shine through your article. Have you ever talked with a person who absolutely loved the subject they were discussing? A dedicated gardener can make watching grass grow sound exciting. The subject may be boring to us but to the gardener itís exciting. Once you see the subject through the gardener's eyes, you too will view the subject of watching grass grow differently.

Do you worry about finding a subject to write about? Your mind is a warehouse of information. Ideas are stored away and often forgotten. We have to learn to unlock the warehouse and let the information come
forth. Look through old photo albums. Glance through old yearbooks. Think back to when you were young. Did you have a room full of toys or did you have to invent things to play with? You could write an article on making a toy that was used years ago. Did you make up games? Write an article about games, or the history of games.

Do you have experience or talent in a particular subject? Then write about it! Do you have a hobby or do you enjoy a particular sport? Write about it! Maybe you love fishing. Just from that one subject come many article ideas: how to fish, information about the different fishing rods and reels, information on different types of fish, how saltwater fishing compares with freshwater fishing. Share your knowledge and experience with others.

Ingredient #2: The Hook
Make your beginning paragraph so exciting you hook your reader. Your opening paragraph will either get your reader to continue reading or completely turn away. You want to capture the readerís interest right from the beginning. One way to do this is to use a question and answer approach. Start your article by asking a question. This will involve the reader from the very start. Then you, of course, will answer the question and continue with the article.

Ingredient #3: Substance
Do your homework and get as much information as you can find on the subject. Even if you are familiar with a particular subject, continue to research. Write what you know from experience, then search the
Internet, and visit your public library. Look through the books at your local book store. The more information you can offer your reader the greater the chance you have for success. Always check and double-check your facts; do not just assume the information you give is true.

Ingredient #4: Satisfying Ending
The ending of your article is almost as important as the beginning. Your ending paragraph should leave the reader with the feeling of completion. The final paragraph should wind up the article and tie up all the loose ends. Anything less will leave the reader dangling and searching for answers. You want your reader to come away feeling filled and satisfied, like a good meal, because of what they have just learned. Make your article so interesting your reader will want to share what they learn with others.

Ingredient #5: Finding a market
Research the markets, and find the age-appropriate market for your article. You wouldnít send an article for young children to a teen magazine. Look through magazines and find the publication that best suits your article.

Mix a tempting subject with interesting information. Add a sidebar (pictures or a word puzzle, etc.) if possible. Blend it all together with proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. Bake accordingly for proper age group and market. Serve it to your reader on your best company china. Your reader deserves only the best!


Marilyn Freeman is married (40 years), a mom to two daughters and has nine grandchildren. She has completed both the basic and advance writing course at the Institute of Children's Literature. She prints a critiquing newsletter From Dolly's Desk for other children's writers designed to share and critique stories and articles. Her work has appeared in Once Upon A Time, Wee Ones, Wee Parents, ICL Web site, Simple Joy and Rainy Day Corner. She will be published in the future by Writer's Digest Writer's Forum Publication and Hopscotch.

Marilyn has her first children's book, SummerAdventures With Grandma posted at http://www.iuniverse.com You may reach Marilyn by sending e-mail to: bwfmef@bellsouth.net or dollydsk@bellsouth.net.


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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