Writing Nonfiction for Magazines

For me, magazines were the training ground for learning to write nonfiction. Feature articles convey a lot of information but in a less structured way than straight news. But there is more to writing for magazines then understanding the basics of feature articles. What follows are eleven types of articles that are appropriate for magazines.

  1. Feature articles focus on events or people, giving the reader a chance to more fully understand some interesting dimension of that subject. windows into the human experience, giving more detail and description than a hard news story, which typically relies on the style of writing.
  2. Personality profiles describe a person’s life and achievements in a narrative form. Based on interviews with the subject and others who provide background and context, profiles paint an in-depth look at the subject’s life, including early history, important events, accomplishments, quirks, character, and strengths.
  3. News is written by a strict formula. The most important facts appear in the first paragraph and answer these questions: who, what, when, where, and how? The rest of the article fleshes out those answers with the least important at the end of the article. News stories were measured by the inch; when they didn’t fit in the space allowed, editors would cut from the bottom without sacrificing the meat of the article.
  4. Q&A articles are the easiest type of article to write. They are based on interviews. The writer creates a set of questions that are designed to elicit information in a logical sequence. The person being interviewed answers the questions. With the exception of the lead and the conclusion, there is no narrative, analysis, or story line. The strength of the article depends on how well the questions are constructed and how interesting and complete the answers are.
  5. Opinion piece/op-ed, short for “opposite the editorial page” or “opinion editorial,” is a written piece of prose that expresses the opinion of an author and published by a newspaper or magazine. Op-eds are different from both editorials (opinion pieces submitted by editorial board members) and letters to the editor (opinion pieces submitted by readers).
  6. Reviews of books, movies, and restaurants are written by people who are or consider themselves to be experts in the field about which they are writing. It helps to have some academic and practical experience in the subject. A critic who doesn’t know what he’s talking about or has only negative things to say will lose credibility very quickly.
  7. Essays are short to medium-length pieces about a personal experience or an opinion. Typically, an essay focuses on one subject and reflects the author’s point of view.
  8. How-To’sareprescriptive pieces that contain steps, ways, or tips that help the reader do something specific. They provide the solution to a problem or the answer to a question. The options are practically limitless, especially for experts in certain fields. The key is to explain the steps in clear, conversational English.
  9. Trend articles showcase what is happening in a particular area over time, such as the divorce rate, whether crime statistics are increasing or decreasing, or the number of refugees seeking asylum in countries other than their own. Spotting and reporting trends are only half the picture; the other half is interpreting what they mean.
  10. Lifestyle: These articles focus on a lifestyle issue, such as health, relationships, or recreation, and can include interviews as well as statistics. Such a piece might discuss the private school option Saturday various systems to set up her day whatever Scott. one second. day feet a city, how to use a new walking path in a town, or the best restaurants to check out.
  11. Shorts: Many publications feature short pieces. These might be 150-500 words in length. The topics vary but always focus on the target market of the particular publication. Sometimes, a magazine will have a section on health and fitness, for example, and it might consist of four to five short pieces on the topic.




Bobbi Linkemer is a writing coach, ghostwriter, editor, as well as the author of eighteen books under her own name. Her passion is helping writers at all levels to convey their messages through books. In her forty-five-year career, Ms. Linkemer has written on hundreds of topics for magazines, individuals, and organizations in both the private and public sectors. She has been a feature writer, a magazine editor, and a corporate communicator. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurs and individuals who want to share their stories or build their businesses. Bobbi Linkemer • 314-968-8661 bobbi@writeanonfictionbook.com

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One comment on “Writing Nonfiction for Magazines
  1. Irina says:

    Thanks and good luck to you too Hadas!educheapessay.com

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