Writing for magazines is a lot like writing for any other form of entertainment. You have to capture the reader’s attention and imagination right away, and you also have to maintain that level of interest throughout the piece.
Most importantly, though and this goes for every genre you have to be entertaining! But don’t worry: If you’re an aspiring magazine writer with no experience yet, there are steps you can take to improve your craft and make sure your first project gets noticed by editors everywhere. Here are 30 ways to become a better magazine writer:
|1. Understand the day-to-day life of a magazine writer to gain insights into the profession.|
|2. Discover the secrets of crafting effective business plans to elevate your entrepreneurial pursuits.|
|3. Learn proven techniques for writing better magazine articles that captivate readers.|
|4. Unveil the secrets to success from top magazine writers and apply them to your own work.|
|5. Take proactive steps to avoid rejection and increase your chances of getting published.|
|6. Explore further reading resources to enhance your magazine writing skills.|
Use Sentence Length And Paragraph Length To Create Pace
One of the most important things to remember about magazine writing is that you can use sentence and paragraph length to create pace.
Short words and sentences create a fast-paced story, while long words and sentences slow down the text.
Long paragraphs also slow down a story, since readers need time to read them (and it’s harder for them to keep track of where they are in the narrative). Short paragraphs help keep things moving along at a brisk clip by keeping things short and sweet
Understanding the daily routine of a magazine writer can provide valuable insights into the world of publishing. Discover what it’s really like to be a magazine writer in our article on Magazine Writing: A Day in the Life and get inspired to pursue your writing career.
Establish A Pace Early, And Maintain It
The thing that makes magazine writing so different from other types of writing is the fast pace. No matter what you’re writing about, you have to begin your piece quickly and keep going. This can be difficult for those who are more used to the slow pace of novels or short stories but it’s possible!
If You’re Not Sure How To Establish A Fast Pace For Your Story, Here Are Some Ways
Start with a bang! A lot of magazine articles start with a strong sentence; something short and punchy that conveys exactly what the article is about. If that doesn’t work for whatever reason (perhaps because this isn’t an opinion piece), try starting with an interesting fact or anecdote instead. Something that will get readers interested right away!
Use subheadings liberally throughout your article they’ll help break up long blocks of text into smaller chunks which are easier on readers’ eyes (and brains). Subheadings also allow writers some freedom with their structure:
If they feel like they’ve written too much in one section but still want to include ideas from there elsewhere in their article, later on, subheads provide flexibility in terms of rearranging material and keeping things fresh throughout each section despite having already written quite a bit before getting to them.”
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Be Thorough In Your Plot & Character Backgrounding
Plot backgrounding, or the introduction of characters and events in a story, is one of the most important parts of an article. Readers need to understand how things came to be before diving into the meatier parts of a story (like the plot).
So how does one go about this? First, let’s talk about what “plot” means: It’s everything that happens in your article from start to finish. This includes who your main character(s) are, what they want and why they want it, their relationship with other characters in the piece, and any obstacles they face along their journey toward achieving their goals.
When readers don’t know these basic details about people or places within an article, they have nothing but confusion on their hands and we all know confusion is not something anyone wants when reading something for fun! So how do you make sure you’re giving them enough information?
Hone Your Dialogue Skills
The most important thing to remember about dialogue is that it should reveal character, advance the plot, create conflict and show the relationship between characters. Dialogue can also be used for humor, tension, or suspense. The key is to make sure that whatever you write has a purpose. Don’t just fill pages with people talking without any meaning behind it.
Dialogue creates surprise by surprising the reader with an unexpected answer to a question or statement that was thought out beforehand by them in their mind as they read along while reading your story; this will keep them wanting more because they never know what comes next!
When You Get Stuck, Talk Out Your Plot Problems With Friends.
Good writers are usually pretty good at talking about their plots, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. Spending time discussing your ideas with someone else can help you clarify what’s working and what isn’t and sometimes even inspire solutions for the problems that arise along the way.
You don’t have to be a writer yourself you just need someone willing to listen and give feedback on your plot ideas without judgment or criticism (i.e., no one who knows nothing about screenwriting).
Other writers are great sources of feedback because they understand how stories work at a deeper level than most people do; non-writers will often come up with creative solutions that would never occur to any professional writer in his right mind!
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Know And Explain The “Why” Of Every Scene
Every scene in your magazine has a purpose. It’s not just there to take up space, and it’s not just there to show what the characters are doing. It should be there to accomplish one or more of these purposes:
Move the plot forward by revealing new information about the main character(s) or other important characters in the story.
Move the plot forward by revealing new information about settings, supporting characters, and/or objects that will be used later on (this doesn’t mean that every single detail needs to make sense right now).
Create Suspense Or Build Tension By Putting Someone In Danger/Making Them Feel Threatened
So as you’re writing each scene, ask yourself: Does this scene accomplish one of these things? If so, great! If not, then why is this scene here? What purpose does it serve? You might find out that there isn’t any reason for it in which case you can either cut it out entirely or rewrite it so that it serves an important function within your magazine story!
Avoid Passive Voice Wherever Possible; Instead, Use Active Voice With Strong Verbs
Passive voice is weak. It’s a filler word, a space that doesn’t add anything to the sentence. It acts like a wall between you and your reader, preventing them from really getting into what you’re saying.
Instead of using passive voice, use active voice with strong verbs where possible: “The man was hit by a car.” Sounds more interesting than “A car hit the man.” Active voice creates more direct sentences that are easier to understand quickly, which makes an article easier to digest and read through without getting bogged down in details or boring tangents.
Active writing is also more concise and engaging because it describes things in terms of changes or actions instead of states (e.g., “He drove home” versus “He lives at 11 Main Street”). This helps readers better follow along with what’s happening in your story it keeps them focused on what matters most while eliminating any unnecessary fluff words!
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Keep An Ear Open For Great Descriptive Phrases Or Words, Wherever You Are
Read the news. Listen to people talk. Listen to music. Listen to sounds of the world around you, like birds, chirping.
Remember when you were in grade school and they taught you how to do that thing where you put your hand on top of your head, close one eye and look through a keyhole?
Well, now’s your chance! Just use those same skills with new material: listen carefully for descriptive words or phrases that jump out at you, whatever medium is being used (whether it be speech or song). You might find something great just hanging out there waiting for someone like yourself a writer to notice it and put it into his/her writing!
If this all seems too easy (and therefore less interesting), remember that many writers also keep an ear open for good descriptive phrases as they think about things themselves; practicing mindfulness can help improve one’s writing ability by allowing him/her access to deeper levels of consciousness where truly amazing ideas often lie lurking in wait!
Keep Your Characters’ Voices Consistent Throughout The Story
There’s a fine line between giving your characters distinct voices and making them sound like they’re all speaking with the same voice. If you find yourself writing like this, your readers will be confused and frustrated. (Readers are picky about this kind of thing.) The best way to avoid this is to keep track of what each character says: how they say it and when they say it.
Listen to how people speak in real life, then try to mimic that speech pattern in your writing without being distracting or monotonous!
If you have multiple characters with similar personalities who speak differently from one another (for example “I love my mommy!” vs “I love my daddy!”), make sure each character has their unique way of saying things so readers can tell who’s talking at any given moment.
Don’t Have The Same Character Perform More Than One Major Action In A Single Paragraph
The key to writing a successful magazine story is to remember that each paragraph should have one major action or idea. This means, when possible, you should choose a single theme you want to communicate through the story and make sure individual paragraphs focus on one action or idea.
First paragraph: Set the scene (where is the main character? what time of day? what year?)
Second paragraph: Begin building suspense by introducing an intriguing element that will lead into your main plot line (what does something look like? how does it sound?)
Third paragraph: Continue building suspense until it becomes unbearable but don’t give away too much information just yet! (whoa! What’s happening here? I can’t believe it…)
Before you begin writing, decide on one theme you want to communicate through the story and stick to it throughout the writing process.
Before you begin writing, decide on one theme you want to communicate through the story and stick to it throughout the writing process. It’s much easier to get that one theme across clearly if the writer sticks to it.
The theme should be clear to the reader, but also clear in your mind as well. If you are writing a long feature story (more than 5 pages), then each chapter of your piece could have its theme or message so that when someone reads from the beginning until the end they can see how one idea builds on another and how it all comes together in the end (or hopefully not too far into).
If this is not something that works for your publication or employer, then try making sure each paragraph has its little sub-theme within itself.
For instance, if we were doing an article about eating healthily but with ease: “I’m going grocery shopping at 7 am because stores open earlier than usual this week due to holiday rush” might be one paragraph;
I shop while listening to music instead of watching TV because I find it relaxing” might be another; “I eat some fruit before breakfast so I don’t feel hungry when lunchtime rolls around” could be yet another example.
Facing rejection as a magazine writer can be disheartening, but there are proactive steps you can take to improve your chances of acceptance. Find out the 10 things every aspiring writer should do in our guide on 10 Things Magazine Writers Can Do to Not Get Rejected and increase your likelihood of publication success.
You now have a wealth of information at your fingertips and in your head. You know how to create a good story, and you understand the importance of having strong characters and dialogue. But what about all those little details?
How do you make sure that every element of your story is tight, polished, and perfectly executed? In the next article, we’ll go over some tips for making sure each sentence is perfect before moving on to the next one.
MasterClass: How to Get Into Magazine Writing: Explore expert tips and advice from seasoned magazine writers on breaking into the world of magazine writing.
SEMrush: How to Become a Better Writer: Discover practical strategies and techniques to enhance your writing skills and become a more effective and engaging writer.
WordStream Blog: Improve Your Writing Skills: Uncover valuable insights and actionable tips to improve your writing prowess, whether for personal, academic, or professional purposes.
How can I enhance my magazine writing skills?
Developing your magazine writing skills involves practicing regularly, studying successful articles, and seeking feedback from editors and peers. Additionally, consider attending workshops or online courses tailored to magazine writing.
What are some key elements of a compelling magazine article?
A compelling magazine article typically includes a catchy headline, engaging introduction, well-structured body, and a memorable conclusion. It should also be well-researched, factually accurate, and resonate with the target audience.
How do I approach magazine editors for pitching my ideas?
When pitching ideas to magazine editors, personalize your approach, research the publication’s content, and tailor your pitch to match their style and audience. Keep your pitch concise, highlighting the unique angle of your article.
What steps can I take to get my magazine articles published more frequently?
To increase your publication rate, build strong relationships with editors, meet deadlines consistently, and continuously refine your writing. Focus on delivering high-quality and relevant content that aligns with the magazine’s themes.
How can I stay updated on industry trends and topics for magazine writing?
Stay informed by regularly reading magazines within your niche, following industry publications and websites, participating in writing forums, and engaging with fellow writers and readers on social media platforms.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.