Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Article Writing: Melding Research, Stats & Interviews

When I’m writing an article, I like to do as much research upfront as possible. That includes doing interviews with subjects.

Once I interview someone, I transcribe the session as soon as possible, then read and highlight things I think might make interesting or relevant quotes. I do basically the same thing with research, highlighting important stats or information.

By doing research and interviews first, I can get an idea of where the article might begin and where it might eventually lead. I have an idea of what various topics the article might cover.

Then I sit down to write, pulling from all the various information I’ve gathered. Mostly, in the beginning, I work on quotes. Putting them together, working on brief transitions from one topic or area to another. Then I add in stats or hard information. Then I go back and build in more information, so it’s not just one quote after another.

Once this first draft is done, then I can go back and cut or add, move around, work on the wording, look at the whitespace, the word count, the weight of the quotes, etc.

Sort of like creating a collage. You add things here and there, move things around until they look or feel right, balance the colors and textures, work on it until it feels right. Until all the pieces meld together into a whole.

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