Thoughts about writing feature stories …

Whether young or old, writers today tend to be far more interested in writing a feature story than they are in writing a news story. Why is this?

Well, my guess is that features come with fewer rules to navigate through. and who likes a lot of rules? While features do follow form, they are more flexible in form and more stylistic in structure than what people would read in a “hard” news story.

In general, you will find features falling into these categories:

  • Human Interest: The best-known kind of feature story is the human-interest story that discusses issues through the experiences of others.
  • Profiles: A very common type of feature is the profile that reveals an individual’s character and lifestyle. The profile exposes different facets of the subject so readers will feel they know the person.
  • How-To: These articles help people learn by telling them how to do something. The writer learns about the topic through education, experience, research or interviews with experts.
  • Historical Features: These features commemorate important dates in history or turning points in our social, political and cultural development. They offer a useful juxtaposition of then and now. Historical features take the reader back to revisit an event and issues surrounding it. A variation is the this date in history short feature, which reminds people of significant events on a particular date.
  • Seasonal Themes: Stories about holidays and the change of seasons address matters at specific times of a year. For instance, they cover life milestones, social, political and cultural cycles, and business cycles.
  • Behind the Scenes: Inside views of unusual occupations, issues, and events give readers a feeling of penetrating the inner circle or being a mouse in a corner. Readers like feeling privy to unusual details and well kept secrets about procedures or activities they might not ordinarily be exposed to or allowed to participate in.

Feature writing 101


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