analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Contact Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

10 December 2000 Sunday






IT took me almost five years to write like an academic. I had to unlearn my active tensed terse one-page business memo to adopt passive tensed, long-winded, 100% referenced and rigorously annotated reports. I started by telling the reader what I was going to tell them, and then told them, and ended by telling them what I've told them.

News writing is just the reverse. It is short. Start by telling them the most important thing. Each sentence thereafter is less important and serves to back up the previous. The inverted pyramid can be cut from the bottom and still retain its meat.

Feature writing, on the other hand, is not a pyramid but a building. The feature article holds the reader's attention through out. The ideas are more complicated. The hardest part is to write the introduction, of which there are five types.

  • Narrative: story telling technique, pull the reader in
  • Descriptive: set the scene, make the reader want to be there with you.
  • Quotes: simplest of all, but the feature needs to live up to it.
  • Statements of intriguing fact: to lure the reader into it.
  • Opinionated pronouncement: this can sometimes annoy and put the reader of. Be careful with this.

The next hardest thing in writing a feature article is to structure the themes. My diary entries are short feature articles. I generally have no problem thinking of an idea and starting to write it. However, I sometimes run into difficulty in ending it. Like now, should I end this with a bang or a whimper? Would this be the beginning of a textbook on writing or my journey into journalism? Or shall I leave the reader hanging in suspense?

Related diary entries:
Organised to Write
Today's Deadline
e-Commerce Guide