7 Tips for Nonfiction Articles

I've been cleaning out the file cabinets in my office. I've shredded 2 trash bags full of old articles, manuscript drafts, and papers written years ago.

I saved a few to publish here on SlingWords like this one today. If you're interested in writing non-fiction articles, here are some tips for you from my days as a freelance writer.

7 Tips for Nonfiction Articles

1. All nonfiction writing can be developed in 1 of 4 ways.
  • Narrative: tells a true story about a person, place, or event
  • Expository: explains or informs the reader about something
  • Persuasive: presents a topic, takes a position for or against it, supporst the chosen position with carefully articulated points
  • Descriptive: uses the five senses to describe something—usually meant to be entertaining.
2. Begin with a strong hook. Just as fiction requires a writer to hook readers immediately, so does nonfiction. Avoid bland statements of fact, time, date, or other mundane means of telling a true story. Use fiction narrative techniques. That doesn't mean to "make it up," but to employ fiction techniques in order to create a riveting article.

3. Make sure your article has a beginning, middle, and end. From the beginning, you should have rising action just as fiction does.
Don't just lay out facts or wander all over the place.

Stick to the story you're telling with a beginning hook to set up the srticle, the middle with the meat of the article, and the ending that wraps up the story.

Include only scenes or incidents and facts that are germane to the topic.

4. Know your premise and stay on target. Example, in writing an inspirational article, your premise should be the insight you gained from an experience. You write to share with others or to show how a seemingly insignificant incident can change a person and a life. If a how-to article, you write to share knowledge you gained in order to help others do the same thing.

5. Always use good grammar. Take a class or get a good basic English grammar book to make your skills top notch.

6. Proofread carefully. Even better, get a friend with good grammar skills to to proofread for you.

7. Format for the desired manner of publication. You format differently for print than for online publishing.

Example, in print you always spell out numbers, i.e., four, but in online writing, you use the numerals, i.e. 4. That's just one of many differences.

Takeaway Truth

I hope this helps you in writing anything from blog posts to complex articles.

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