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  • 1. Guidelines for Writing a Feature Story
  • 2.
    • Choose a single focus and interview only on that--do not do a biography.
    Feature leads may be more than one paragraph long and usually do not include the The main purposes of a feature lead are to set the tone and get the reader's attention.
  • 3.
    • A chronological, logical or narrative pattern of organization is used,
    lead Details (straight news story) lead Details are in Chronological Order not inverted pyramid . (feature story) Logical Order Narrative Order Most important Least important
  • 4.
    • The final paragraph should complete the story.
    • The best ways to do this are to refer back to the lead or use a quote to refer to the future.
  • 5.
    • The story should reflect the subject's character and personality .
    Feature stories should contain many direct quotes. At minimum, features should be one-half direct quotes.
  • 6.
    • Write creatively,
    • use color and imagination ,
    • make people come ALIVE
    • with your feature writing.
    Be careful to avoid becoming too sugar-coated or editorializing, however.
  • 7.
    • Unlike in standard news writing, contractions may be used to give an informal tone.
  • 8.
    • If a journalist were writing about the Dakota Writing Project, from which this activity came, there would be two basic ways to do it.
    • Write a straight news story about the Project.
    2. Write a feature story about it.
  • 9.
    • If the journalist were writing a news story, it might begin something like this:
    Twenty-one teachers from across eastern South Dakota gathered at the University of South Dakota June 14-July 1 to learn techniques used to teach writing. The rest of the story would continue this pattern with the most important information always taking precedence over the less important information, even if it is more interesting. This is a basic news lead. It gives the facts— the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story.
  • 10.
    • If this were to be written as a feature story, however, the lead might look more like this:
    Teacher Jason Lueth cried as he composed a poem about his grandmother at the keyboard of a Macintosh computer in the basement of the University of South Dakota Arts and Sciences building recently. The purpose of this feature lead is to draw the reader in— that is, to make him or her curious. What was he crying about? Why in a computer lab? I want to know more!
  • 11.
    • We are going to write about an individual in pure feature fashion.
    After the feature lead is written, move on to compose the rest of the story. A feature may take nearly any format, but should be written in third person with many first person quotes, as in any news story.