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So - You Think You Can Write a Good Article?
Nowadays, anyone with a computer can pound out an article in a few minutes and submit it to article directories on the internet. What about you? Has the writing bug infected you with a yearning desire to broadcast your thoughts in cyberspace?
One of the most important things to consider before writing an article is:
* WRITING SKILL *
You may not possess the skills required for successful writing. Spell checkers can pinpoint obvious spelling errors - but grammar and understandability are not as easily validated. If necessary, take a writing course (or hire a ghost writer).
The next item of importance:
* THE IDEA *
Always carry a notepad, PDA, or device with voice-recording capabilities. Whenever an article idea occurs to you make note of it - immediately. Don't say something cryptic like 'search engines' and expect to remember the details later.
The next item to consider is:
* THE TITLE *
Which of the following titles is more compelling?
1) How to Write a Title for an Article
2) Do You Know How to Write a Good Article Title?
The first title is rather matter-of-fact and boring. The reader is likely to think:
'Of course I know how to write a title for an article!'
However, the second title will stimulate the reader's interest:
'Hmm? I wonder - am I doing it right? Maybe I should investigate this article.'
Questions make good titles, as do statements or topics that may be considered newsworthy or controversial. However, never make the mistake of choosing a title that has nothing to do with your article's content.
Now you have an idea and a title. What comes next?
* THE PLAN *
In the days of pen-and-ink and typewriters, a plan (or outline) was of paramount importance. A writer would make a point-form list of an article's content. There are a couple of reasons for this approach.
1) An outline forces an author to develop a beginning, a narrative, and a conclusion that flows in a logical manner.
2) With the old-fashioned hard-copy method, edits were more difficult to accomplish.
Nowadays, it is easier than ever to think as you write - churning out the words in your favorite word processor - and making copy revisions after you are finished. However, you should still begin with some kind of a plan - in your head, if not on paper.
Next on your list:
* THE INTRODUCTION *
Your introductory paragraph should provoke interest and provide some representation of article content. It should be an extension of your title, flowing naturally into the text.
The following entry on your list:
* CONTENT *
This is often overlooked. An author may fill a page with words without actually saying anything useful. The end user must profit somehow by reading your article. Carefully research all information. If you are using the internet to ferret out facts and figures, choose authority sites - and never, never, NEVER plagiarize.
Next on the agenda:
* THE CLOSING *
Unlike a novel where the intent is often to leave a booklover guessing, an article should come to an obvious end.
* THE REVIEW *
Now, read your article out loud. Difficult word combinations that you might not catch on visual inspection will soon become evident. Make sure you haven't stuffed your article with big, important-sounding words just to increase the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. At this point, you may be wise to eliminate words or sentences in order to produce a more concise article.
Before you submit to article directories, double check all spelling and grammar. Leave your article for an hour or two to work on something else. In the interim, new thoughts may occur to you.
Once you are finally satisfied and all the edits have been made, run your spell checker one last time. There is no excuse - ever - for incorrect spelling.
* GOOD LUCK *
And there you have it, folks - a quick summary of an article writing technique that has proved itself with many successful writers. Give it a try - and good luck!
About the Author: Kathy Steinemann is a webmaster and author who writes for several websites, including 1st Rate Articles - one of the newest article directories on the internet.