Writing Magazine Articles

Writing a magazine article involves many of the tools learned in public speaking. Here are some tips on article structures.

Public Speaking is one of the greatest fears most people have. In order to overcome mine I joined a Toastmasters club. I not only became a confident public speaker; I learned many tools for effective speech writing that are also helpful in writing.

The purpose of this article is to explain how speechwriting taught me structure. Writing a speech is not very different from writing an article. When addressing a "live" audience, you practice vocal tone, grammar, body language and your appearance. Lucky for me no one sees me when I'm writing!

Structure is important when writing a speech or a piece that is going to be read by someone else. Ideas need to flow logically and naturally from one idea to the other. Sentences open your thoughts in a logical flow as thread in a sweater. A paragraph should contain one complete idea. One helpful suggestion is to read your article aloud after you've written it. Does it sound like it flows in a logical and interesting way? Would you be comfortable reading it to an audience?



The basic outline of a speech is simple:

Introduction: Tell the people what you're going to tell them.

Body: Tell them

Conclusion: Tell them what you just told them (in summary)

The body can be broken down into sub-headings: A, B, C... Tell your audience what your main points or sub-headings will be in your introduction. Then they'll be able to follow you.

The structure of an article is not much different from that of a verbal address. With a talk or an article, you want to grab your reader's interest right away. You can do that with a controversial statement or by asking a leading question. You might lead an article on mosquitoes by stating' "There are some things I love about mosquitoes!" Then you tell your readers what you will be driving at during your article. Give them your main points.

One of the most helpful exercises in preparing a speech is editing what you have to say into the allotted time. If you're giving a timed speech, you have to make sure everything fits into that period. If you're writing an article for on line publication, you want at least 300 words and not more than 2,000. Attention spans on the web are short. People want to surf over to something else and may be concerned with on line time expense.

The body needs to be organized in a logical fashion. Try to make those two or three points in your essay, and handle them sequentially. You might want to break the body down into the background and development of your topic.

For a conclusion, just sum up your main points again. If you asked a leading question, be sure to answer it: "And so, these are the things I love about mosquitoes..." If you want some good writing practice, a public speaking club will give it to you. All of those speeches have to be written first!

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