Generally, a magazine article can be divided into
four basic components:
The title of a magazine article should tell the readers
the nature of the article. It usually features a short, terse
statement designed to attract their attention or to arouse
their curiosity. The title should entice the audience to
read the article immediately.
A title, like the article itself, should be slanted or
directed toward a particular market. Each magazine has
its own title requirements for style, length and
typographical arrangement. Some magazines prefer
titles that summarize the information in the article.
Others want descriptive titles. Still others prefer titles
that maim striking statements. And some favor titles
featuring questions, quotations, direct appeal or
In developing titles for their articles, writers must
be honest. They should not mislead the reader with facts
not supported by the articles, and they should avoid
exaggeration or sensationalism.
The title should convey the tone and spirit of the
material featured in the article. Declarative sentences
with concrete nouns and active verbs are best.
If you have not thought of a good title when you
begin writing an article, do not worry about it. Few
writers title their stories in advance. Usually, the facts
will suggest something suitable as you write. Often a
strong sentence in your copy will provide the exact title
The lead of a magazine article is similar to the lead
of a news story, except it is usually longer and nearly
always more difficult to write. The lead may run only
one paragraph in length, or it may run as much as 10
percent of the entire article.
Whatever space you allot to your lead, it must
accomplish the following objectives:
Indicate the central idea to be conveyed in the
Contain a hint of the spirit and movement of the
Locate the subject as to time and place.
Show any relation that may exist between the
facts and the reader.
Generate enough interest to make the reader want
to read the rest of the article.
Leads for magazine articles, like those for news
stories, should be written in a manner suitable for the
subject matter. The lead is the most important part of a
magazine article. If it fails to sustain the readers
interest, they will not read the article. Therefore, many
professional writers spend nearly as much time
developing a good lead as in writing the remainder of
an article. As trite as the expression may be, a good
writer knows that a story well begun is half done.
The title of a magazine article attracts an audiences
attention. The lead arouses curiosity, stimulates interest
and whets the readers appetite for more facts. The body
of the article must keep the readers interested.
Keeping your audience interested for two or three
thousand words is a tough job. To do this, you must
weigh every word, every sentence and every paragraph
carefully. The facts you use must not only be interesting
in themselves, but they must be presented in an
The body of a narrative or personal experience story
is probably the easiest to write. All you have to do is
relate the details in the order in which they happened.
With this approach, you can depend on the action to hold
the readers interest. However, an article that contains
no action and only presents straight, factual information
is harder to write. Because the facts themselves are
constant restrictions, you must use skill and imagination
in presenting them. The facts must flow from the article
naturally, without awkward pauses or sudden changes
In all magazine articles, paragraphs should be
written so they interlock. The end of one paragraph
should lead naturally into the beginning of the next.
Transitions should be used in such a manner that the
readers are not even aware of them. The key for you to
make the body of the article interesting is in
appropriately inserting anecdotes, specific examples
and hypothetical situations. These devices help illustrate
points and emphasize important facts.