How to write a feature story all depends on creativity and writing skills. A feature story highlights an event, people, or a place in detail. For a person that is following a journalistic path, producing captivating feature stories is of great importance. It is excepted for someone that has not done this before to ask themselves how they will manage to write a good feature story.
How To Write a Feature Story
One thing to note when you begin learning is that feature stories vary from hard news stories, both in structure and tone. A feature story is longer than a hard news article because it offers more in-depth information on the subject. The other distinguishing factor is that hard news stories are written in a neutral tone to prevent the writer’s opinion from seeping into the story, but the use of slang and colloquialism is allowed when writing a feature story to create a personal tone. Generalization and exaggeration can also be used to increase the humor when writing a feature story.
Types of Feature Stories
Profiles- It takes an in-depth look at a specific person’s character and lifestyle. It reveals various aspects of the subject, such that readers of the piece feel like they know the person. The best profiles are those that highlight the individual’s dreams and struggles. They focus on exposing attitudes, capturing habits, informing, and entertaining. They become compelling and fulfilling stories when these goals are achieved.
Human interest– This kind of feature story focuses on a person or people. It is written in an emotional way to present the subject’s concerns, problems, or achievements. Such a feature story manages to provoke interest and sympathy in the readers.
The how-to feature– These are the articles that explain to the readers how to do something. They may also include reasons it is important or beneficial to carry out the action. It includes steps that describe the process in detail and the list of materials that are needed. The writer may have learned the process through experience, education interviews with experts, or research.
Seasonal Themes– They are the feature stories that focus on matters that occur at a specific time, such as seasonal changes or holidays.
Past events features– These feature stories are written to commemorate past events or the date that marks a turning point in political, cultural, and social development. They contain a description of the past and the now and put a “human face” in explaining the change that took place.
The Structure of a Feature Story
- A compelling headline is the one that can fulfill the following functions.
- If it grabs the attention of the readers and gets them interested in reading the article
- It clearly shows the subject of the article.
- It incorporates keyword, in case its an online feature story
The introduction paragraph should outline the theme or the subject of focus. It should also fulfill the following:
- Provoke the reader’s interest through a unique and short well-crafted statement
- Offer the background information of the subject where necessary
- Establish the tone of the article at this juncture
- Focus on creating a relationship with the reader
It is the section that carries the most details of the story. It includes names of people, places, and periods related to a specific event. Other components of this part include:
- Personal opinions concerning the subject
- The opinions of experts, or even of authorities
- Statistics and facts to support your opinions
- Interviews and quotes
- Photos, diagrams, graphs, and tables
- Specific dates names of people and places
It is the part of an article that should leave a lasting impression on the readers by:
- Provoking a reaction
- Prompting an action from the reader
- Prompting change in opinion or attitude on the subject
Steps to Writing a Feature story
Now that you have understood what a feature story is, types, and the standard structure, its time to learn the steps towards writing an interesting feature story.
Step 1: Choose an interesting subject.
While in other forms of writing we encourage choosing relevant, and timely topics, feature story requires not a topic but a specific subject. This can be a person, an event, business, among others. It can be challenging when a subject is a person because they might not have time to meet for an interview.
Step 2: Schedule in-person interview
When the subject is an individual or the information requires an interview with an expert, it is imperative to set an in-person interview. Phone or email interviews are not an option. The interview should be scheduled at the time most convenient for the subject. You should prepare the questions beforehand to ensure that you have covered all the areas you need information.
Step 3: Choose your quotes.
Once you have finished carrying out the interview, use the recording to identify the most suitable quotes for the article. The quotes should apply to a specific theme you want to bring out in the article. It is essential to stick to the theme to make the article interesting to the readers.
Step 4: Prepare the draft.
It is at this point that you should begin compiling your piece. Remember that what the subject had to say is more important than your opinion. Therefore, ensure to build the article around the quotes. You may include as many quotes as you see fit to make their voice heard by the readers when there is more than one interviewee for your feature article, the more meat you have for the piece.
Step 5: Seek approval before publishing
It is recommended to send the article to the subject first before it is published. The subject should have a chance to review the story. However, it does not mean that they have a right to make changes. It is the reason for making sure that the quotes and facts are correct.
Step 6: Submit the article for publishing
Once you have mastered these tricks of writing a feature story, they will become more enjoyable to write.