Writing Workshop…Top Tips

Now for the tenth instalment in my writing workshop series. I’ve covered the short story ending as well as the opening.  I’ve guided you through dialogue and focused on the importance of taking time to do things properly. I’ve also given you a competitions refresher and some general advice on the art of the short story. The seventh instalment was about tips on writing humorous pieces and the eight helped you with generating ideas. Last week turned to the art of copywriting and for this week’s it’s all about writing anniversary pieces:

The Anniversary Piece

Every day is the anniversary of a famous person’s birth or death, historical event or the invention of something which changed lives. Articles based on these anniversaries make for fascinating reading and a lot of magazines pay very well for them. Here are some tips to help your anniversary piece tick all the right boxes.

  • An article to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the death of a famous celebrity or a notable event that changed the course of history will immediately attract an editor’s interest. The 49th or 51st anniversary won’t. The anniversary needs to be a significant one.
  • When you’re conducting your research, you may come across other noteworthy dates of importance which have an anniversary coming up in a year or so. Write them down and file the information away, ready to work on at a later date.
  • Some anniversary pieces feature the same information again and again. If you can find a different angle and make a tired theme fresh, then your article is more likely to catch an editor’s eye.
  • There are lots of websites which feature lists of ‘on this day in history’ so and so was born, such and such first appeared on television and so on. All sorts of interesting and unusual topics and details are covered. You might find something listed triggers off an idea which, together with some extra research, will make for an unusual anniversary piece guaranteed to stand out. Useful websites:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

www.scopesys.com/anyday/

  • Whatever you choose to write about, you must ensure your facts and dates are correct. Always double check them. If an editor finds out that some of the information you’ve written is wrong, he’s unlikely to accept your work again.
  • Make sure you target the right publication. A woman’s weekly which publishes true-life stories won’t be interested in your article on the 100th anniversary of the death of one of the great British inventors but a publication with a focus on history or all things British might.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to write your anniversary piece before the actual anniversary. It may take you a while to research the person/event and then to check all your facts.
  • As well as ensuring you have enough time to write the article, when you send your finished piece out, you must send it in plenty of time for the editor to be able to consider it and then to work it into the magazine so it can be published when the anniversary takes place. Many magazines work several weeks ahead and monthly magazines several months in advance.
  • If your anniversary piece is rejected, don’t throw it away, look at sending it to another publication. If the date has passed, perhaps you could rework it slightly so that it suits another year or use your research to turn it into an interesting and informative article which isn’t linked to a specific anniversary date.
  • As well as articles, anniversaries make for interesting readers’ letters offering the editor something a little different and so standing out from the pile.

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9 Responses to Writing Workshop…Top Tips

  1. Helen says:

    Again very useful, Esther. Many thanks.

  2. Simon says:

    I tried to coincide a story with an actual event rather than an anniversary. I failed… epically.

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