Below are four articles that can add tools to your writer’s toolbox, especially for content producers who must master storytelling in order to be effective.
How to Write: A Year in Advice from Franzen, King, Hosseini, and More
By Joe Fassler for The Atlantic December 17, 2013
This is a collection of excerpts from a year of author interviews. Each excerpt is the equivalent of a workshop in the craft of writing from experienced authors and writing teachers. As Joe Fassler comments in his opening, these interviews were like “attending an MFA program.”
The excerpts in this article each have something unique to say about the art and craft of writing that, while highly personal to the author being interviewed, is easily translated into a set of exercises and considerations for any writer.
Khaled Hosseini observes that the completed project will only ever approximate what you want the piece to be, a common lament among writers who are never really finished with a work. Many of us would continue to tweak and edit our writing to a fair thee well if it wasn’t for deadlines.
Fay Wheldon compares the writer’s work to Sisyphean drudgery that you must make into a happy place. (A Greek mythology reminder: this was the guy who had to push a boulder to the top of a hill only to have it roll back down, forcing him to push it up again for eternity.) This is likely why writers can be the world’s biggest procrastinators. You know that writing is hard work, especially writing that seems effortless.
Andre Dubus III tells you it is OK to throw out that outline the English teachers are so fond of. It can become a straightjacket if followed slavishly. If outlining works for you, do it. But don’t put off your project because you think you must create an outline.
This is like a sampler of fine wine from published authors.
More Online Publishers Let Readers Fill the Space
By Leslie Kaufman for the New York Times August 1, 2014
In a move called “platforming” a number of established publishers are giving readers an opportunity to share their passions and opinions with little to no editorial oversight. Before you wonder whether it will turn into a troll-fest, be assured that these are savvy people who understand their audience quite well.
While this practice can give those who care to contribute an outlet for their writing and possibly establish some authority, it also means fewer paying jobs for writers.
Picturing the Personal Essay: A Visual Guide
By Tim Bascom for Creative Nonfiction Summer 2013
With today’s emphasis on content marketing and telling stories as opposed to listing features and benefits, this article about the art and craft of the personal essay can be a terrific toolkit for the copywriter or other writer who wants to use different ways to tell a story.
All the types of essays examined here could be used in one way or another depending on the need and the emotion the marketer or copywriter hopes to touch.
From the chronological narrative to something that is lyrical and meant only to invoke emotion, this analysis of the personal essay can lift your content from the usual.
How the Entertainment Industry Can Influence Your Content Marketing Job
By Ann Gynne for the Content Marketing Institute October 7, 2014
Content, like life, imitates art but in a more concrete way. Just as a movie or TV show has a producer, director, and actors, content marketing also required someone who acts as the producer who, in this case, is the strategist that knows the content must support the business. It also requires a director, someone who communicates the ideas, coordinates the creation, and provides the tactics. Then it needs a creative to make the content: a writer. The writer takes the idea and turns it into content that will draw in eyes and convert prospects.
This piece shows how the method used by the entertainment industry is transferable and successful in content marketing. It also contains a synopsis of Kevin Spacey’s appearance at Content Marketing World this year.
These four resources add up to a master class in writing and content production. Each brings a different side into focus and helps you construct the best content and writing for your purposes and explaining how and why the technique works.
Do you have a particular article you find yourself going back to for ideas on getting your content across?