The market for articles covers everything from your personal online blog to three page special reports in the weekend supplements. A beginner does well to tackle a subject they already know a lot about. One of the surprising things about writing articles is the amount of research needed for even 900 words. If you already have knowledge of a subject, be it line-dancing or line-fishing, you start ahead of the game and need only check your facts are up-to-date.

Buy several issues of any magazine you intend to target. Read the type of article you want to submit. Read everything else about the magazine – who are the adverts targeted at, what type of model is used in the advertising, what type of person writes to the letters page, are paragraphs two sentences with exclamation marks liberally sprinkled or ten sentences with lots of embedded clauses and many words of five or more syllables. Read up about the editor’s requirements for submissions. If your idea is for a particular anniversary or significant date, look at lead-in times. Copy for the Christmas issue, for example, may be bought in March! Pay a lot of attention to house-style. House-style means things like whether they use 25 or twenty-five, ‘Mrs Clinton’ or ‘Clinton’.

The first sentence of your article should sum up what it’s about (and that may very well be in question form). Each paragraph should open with a key sentence foreshadowing its content and end with a sentence that leads/links into the next paragraph. The ending should wrap up the topic and, if you opened with a question, give your final answer to that question.

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