Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 7 of 21)

Gather your material.

Once you know what you want to write and you've decided on one idea for the chapter or article, gather the material. That's called doing research.

Learn everything you can to make your manuscript complete and include all essential information.

If it's a personal-experience, search your memory and ask others who were involved. If it's historical or factual material (even if you write fiction) read widely. Find the one or two best sources—preferably the original sources quoted by others.

Always learn more about a topic than you plan to use. Years ago I wrote a scene in a novel that included a woman's visit to a field of pyrethrum, a natural pesticide. By the time I finished my research, I could have easily written 5,000 words on the topic. In the novel, I wrote one paragraph and used 93 words. That's all I needed for the story.

When you research carefully, you provide accurate information. Keep records. Footnote your writing if needed. If you use on-line sources, verify the information before you quote.

Decide on the anecdotes and illustrations you want to use. Think of those word pictures as windows. If you have only narrative statements, it's like a building with only walls. If you illustrate with research, you create windows for your readers. You enable readers to see inside the structure and they understand your statements.

I work hard as a writer 
so I can make it easy for readers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cec,

    This is great advice. I have to remember to factor in how much time it will take to research a topic. I've had topics that I had to really dig to find information for. Being slammed against a deadline and trying to decipher information can be overwhelming. Gathering materials and information may take way longer than you think.



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