Sep 032008
 

Stuck for feature article ideas? These tips on how to create an angle for an idea are for freelance writers who are itching to get published and make money writing.

Successful freelancer Jenna Glatzer says spotting article ideas that magazine editors will pay to publish is simply a muscle you can develop…

“Once your brain has opened up to this kind of idea generating, you’ll be amazed by how much more perceptive you’ll become in general,” Glatzer writes in Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer. “Conversations you overhear will trigger ideas for new articles. An event you witness in a parking lot will trigger another. Moments before drifting off to sleep, you’ll think of your most compelling idea ever.”

Read Glatzer’s Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments for more in-depth freelance writing tips.

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Feature Article Ideas – How to Create an Angle

Ask your experts for article ideas

Steve Martin, co-author of Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, e-mailed me some great information for an article I’d already submitted to Health magazine. Since his information was too late for the feature article I was writing, I pitched a new idea for another article to the same magazine! If you’re looking for feature article ideas, stay connected to your experts and interviewees.

Dig around in your life

Jenna Glatzer encourages freelance writers to find feature article ideas in their own lives. In Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer, she writes, “If you’re coming up short [of Big Ideas], fill in these blanks and find out the many ways you’re already an expert.”

Jot down the answers to Glatzer’s topics below, and you’ll start learning how to get ideas for magazine articles fairly quickly:

  • I’ve worked as a:
  • I’ve visited/lived in:
  • My hobbies are:
  • Every school I’ve ever attended:
  • I know how to:
  • My pets:
  • My friends are interesting because:
  • My religion/spiritual practices:
  • I’ve taken lessons in:

Take your last magazine article idea one step further

One way freelance writers win new assignments is by poking around one idea until it bleeds fresh juice. To do this, brainstorm the following angles a general topic…

  • One particular angle (eg, weight loss for people with disabilities)
  • A more specific idea (eg, weight loss for people with multiple sclerosis)
  • Variations on one specific idea (eg, weight loss for children with multiple sclerosis)
  • A ridiculous angle (eg, weight loss for cats with multiple sclerosis)
  • A funny angle (eg, weight loss for cats with eating disorders)
  • A serious angle (eg, weight loss for women with multiple sclerosis who are wheelchair-bound)
  • A men’s or a women’s angle (eg, weight loss for men or women with multiple sclerosis)
  • A teen’s or children’s angle (already done above)
  • An angle you’ve seen, but can twist (eg, weight loss for grandparents with multiple sclerosis)

Coming up with creative, interesting angles to write about can be the hardest part of being a freelance writer — and the most rewarding!

Fellow scribes, how do you get feature article ideas? I welcome your comments below…

For more writing tips, read No Blog Ideas, Mommy Bloggers? Top 10 Tips for Mom Blogs — you’ll find plenty o’ ideas for magazine articles there, too.

  2 Responses to “Feature Article Ideas – How to Create an Angle to Write About”

  1. Hi Zelda,

    You’re in luck! It sounds like you like to write about women’s issues — and there are dozens of women’s magazines to choose from. Your first step is to learn how to write query letters and pitch your article ideas to editors. Your second step is to start pitching your ideas, and keep trying until an editor assigns an article.

    I’ve written several articles on freelance writing, pitching magazine articles, and tips for writers. Let me know if you have specific questions; I’ll post the article link here, or write an article that answers your question.

    Happy writing,
    Laurie

  2. I have much to write about womens feelings in relation to living with sickness,sexuality,retaining independace and adjusting to widowhood.
    Where can I go to publish or circulate what I have written??
    zelda

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