Does anyone write articles?(8 Posts)
Could do with some quick pointers
I'm not actually looking to make money at the moment, but have written a few articles, and am starting to build up a bit of a small portfolio (mostly thinktanks/political stuff). At some point, I wouldn't mind getting paid, although I think I'm quite a way off that now - I am still very much writing for fun, and the fact that other people want me to write for them is a bonus.
Is there anything I should be doing with an eye on the future? Do I need to keep a hard copy of every print piece that I write, and how about online? Is there a reliable book to work through with guidelines for good writing and rules for how to go about dealing with editors and commissions?
Is there anything I really, really shouldn't do as an unpaid writer?
Thanks in advance.
I should add that I don't see my future career being in writing or journalism, but it could help my main career plans, and could be an excellent sideline, especially while I am out of action due to illness - at the moment it is pretty much all I am good for.
The Writers and Artists Yearbook is very useful for publishing contacts and guidance on rates. Do keep copies of everything you submit for publication and even if you're not being paid, specify the rights under which you offer your work eg First British Rights - they can publish once in UK only - otherwise some will sell your work over and over again all around the world and you'll get nothing for it. There's no reason why you shouldn't expect to be paid. Unless all you want is the thrill of seeing your name in print, don't be fobbed off with the promise of a byline instead of money, as if it's a great boon - you should be credited anyway, and it's rarely worth much in terms of getting more work.
What is the sitaution if you are asked to write something, you write it and send it, specifying "Let me know if there is anything you would like me to change" and then it is published with significant changes?
Up to now has only happened with bits added on the end that I kind of agree with anyway, and only one was totally rewritten, but surely they should at least send it back for approval?
I got the yearbook - thanks, it really is useful!
If you go onto magazine websites you can often find their writers guidelines.
Also try the Mistakes writers make blog done by Alex Gazzola - he also links to other helpful blogs
Hi there. I'm an ex journalist and used to train people to be journalists. Here are a few pointers for you if you are writing news:
1 Keep your paragraphs to no more than 25 words.
2 Summarise the whole story in the first three paras, the rest of the story should expand on that. Tabliod journos HAVE to write concisely so their work is a good example to look at.
3. As a general rule, unless you are writing for a broadsheet, your story should be 350 to 400 words, max, sometimes 250 words. A good exercise for you, anyway.
4 If it is a news piece it should not contain ANY comment from you, or your opinion. Just stick to the facts.
5 Get someone else to read your copy. If they say they don't understand something, it needs attention. Nothing should be ambiguous.
6 Try to avoid starting each para with THE. The idea is that your story should be easy to read so the reader takes in the info from start to finish before they know it.
If you are writing an opinion piece, I'd recommend starting your own blog, however, watch out for libel! You can be prosecuted for publishing something that trashes someone's reputation.
Hope it helps.
I would disagree with point 3
most women's magazines request 800 words - red top tabloid newspapers require 600 words for a single page and 1000 for a spread. D Mail requires 1200 for a single page and 1800 for a spread.
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