Up to Snuff #1: Basic Structure or Technique for Writing an Article

According to Afua Osei-Bonsu Basic Structure or Technique for Writing an Article

  • Helm, “title/brief,” or a working title, basic idea and beginning
  • Notes & details, general brain storm, what do I know?
  • Write a “Plan,” think about questions for interview, juxtaposition, past, present, future, create a timeline, historical notes, who were key players or stakeholders, analysis, frame perspectives, frame question and goal, plan thread through, plan to indicate available resources, plan sources, where to look and who to talk to, look for credentialed sources, look for eye witnesses and primary sources as opposed to second and third party sources
  • Outline, paragraph parts with headings from plan, organize
  • Research, become authority, create value, collect setting (which may begin your article), inform
  • Interview, gather quotations, eg. you may need a voice from the community and a voice from the government, call around, figure out who can help you craft your story with rich material, find authorities on subject areas, be creative and professional, find witnesses, gather evidence, collect data, ask questions in person, online and by phone, collect details, fill out and enrich story with details, carry note pads, tape recorders and camera, make sure you are clear about what is known to be true and what is believed to be true, good descriptions are always nice, eg. look, feel, sound, who, when, what, where, what time, how did you feel, how did you come to know, how did you start, past, present, future, add to timeline, interesting details, how many, how much, how long, if your on location look around, is this a credentialed source?, first or second party source?, authority or expert? Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
  • Language studies, develop research around language
  • Continuous thread, prayer bead style, write with cadence, onomatopoeia and “history to word” or significant word research, chunky rich and harmonious, chock full, pull from notes, interviews and research, weave together all information and stylize
  • Perfect title, sell and identify the article, revise if necessary working title
  • Edit, check grammar, check spelling, check all names are correct, check for consistent tense, check correct conjugation, revise, punch up
  • Add data, numbers, illustrations or photo companions, visual images or video, captions, and credits, add any notes on associated personages products or books etc., you may sometimes add to send donations or letters to a specific address or include contact info.
  • Fact check, ask yourself is it knowledge?, Is it truth? or justified true belief?
  • Bibliography, foot note or citation
  • Graphic design of writing eg. bucktooth text
  • Byline, with credits about your books or background, short bio or claim to fame
  • Audience and dissemination
  • Financial Strategy for a writer or writing

The above is an excerpt from an upcoming book entitled “Up to Snuff, A Guide for Writers”

and debut of the “Up to Snuff” Column

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

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