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Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angle, and Anecdotes

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Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angle, and Anecdotes

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Feature & Magazine Writing
Action, Angle, and Anecdotes, Third Edition
By David E. Sumner and Holly G. Miller
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-118-30513-3

Reviewed by Boris Segel - June 10, 2013

Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angle, and Anecdotes is a highly respected textbook on feature writing for both the print and digital mediums. It is perfect for use in both highschool and college journalism and writing classes. It can also be used by writers of every ilk who are interested developing their skills as a feature writer.

Feature & Magazine Writing succinctly explains the ins-and-outs of feature writing, including information and tips on the publishing process from how to format a query letter to getting your work out of the slush pile and into print. The text ably defines what featuring writing is and how it differs from other forms of nonfiction writing. Within the pages of this book the author's provide step-by-step guidance that will take students from developing story ideas to marketing their stories to both local and national publications. Along the way they also provide tips on the nuts-and-bolts of feature writing, from how to write an effective lead and interviewing techniques to researching your topic and constructing a solid 'plot' for your feature.

This newly revised third edition of Feature & Magazine Writing explores not only the world of newspaper and magazine writing, but it also provides insights on writing for the new digital platforms. Along the way it explores how digital media and publishing differ from traditional mediums and the many new writing venues that now exist, such as blogging. This text explores how the advent of table-based computers has altered the face of publishing. The authors have included a wealth of in-class activities that will help you gain a deeper understanding of the information presented in the text, as well as providing assignments with which you can practice the techniques and skills that you have learned. Information and advice for course instructors is also included, and there is a website available with additional resources for instructors.

The information in this essential writing guide is organized into six sections covering:
  1. Reading, Writing and Relevance. This section covers topics such as what makes a story interesting and developing strong story angles.

  2. Taking Your Articles to the Freelance Market. This section provides you with a basic overview of what it takes to become a successful freelance feature writer.

  3. Adding Action and Anecdotes. Basic tips on actually writing your feature article and developing your own writing style.

  4. Different Formats, Different Results. This important section details the various types of articles that feature writers write including briefs, profiles, nonfiction narratives, how-to articles, and more...

  5. Exploring Digital OpportunitiesAs the title implies, this section deals with writing for digital mediums.

  6. Preparing the Final DraftThe final section in this guide deals with the practical issues of preparing the final draft of your article, and submitting it for publication. This section also explores the various careers that are available in the magazine publishing industry, and it includes job hunting tips.
Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angle, and Anecdotes packs a lot of information within its pages. The information presented is comprehensible by both seasoned writers and total novices. The authors have included sage advice garnered from their decades of editorial experience, as well as their work as as both journalists and teachers of journalism. They have revised this edition of the text based upon feedback from both students and instructors, and to update the text to include information about writing for digital media.

From beginning to end, Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angle, and Anecdotes provides a solid introduction to feature writing that will enable students to improve their writing skills, not only in the realm of journalistic writing, but also in other fields as well. In addition, this text will help prepare students for careers in both print and digital formats, either as a staff writer or as a freelance feature writer. This is an excellent resource for all students interested in developing their feature writing skills, and it is a text that students are likely to keep as a reference book.

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