My Problem with Features

I am a news guy. Everyone that knows me understands that. Writing a 14″ news story is relatively simple for me. My lead might suck, but the story will be fine. It’s a science to me now.

Besides my leads, my biggest problem is feature stories. I write features, on average, about one to two times a week. It’s not a lot, but it’s a good practice that I really enjoy. Not only do we have to find the ideas, but we have to make them 16″-25″ nice feature stories, with pictures. Obviously, we don’t take the pictures, but it’s nice to have that expectation of us. Coming up with ideas isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so the practice of constantly finding stories is always on your mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love features. They can be a lot of fun, but challenging at the same time. They make me really think about what I’m writing. With features, I always say I have to put one word after the other. Feature stories aren’t a science to me, yet.

I have to admit that I really struggle with them sometimes. I always lean them towards newsy features, but starting them is my biggest problem. What I’m trying to say is that: I’m no as creative as I think I should be. I don’t really think outside the box and it’s something that I really need to work on. Some people can write features like nobody’s business, but not me.

My editor doesn’t say anything bad about my features, but a common theme I’ve noticed is he sends them back for better leads. It bothers me a little bit that I’m not as creative as I can be. I do try some different things with my news leads, but with features, I may as well be writing in Polish. I don’t want to have stories sent back to me like that.

It could be my mindset. I don’t know. This is the one aspect of my writing that still needs to catch up to where I am now. I work at it on a weekly basis, but it’s really lacking to my standards. It’s quite annoying, actually.

I think it’s the fact that I can’t turn off the “news” in my head sometimes. I get so caught up in writing strictly news stories and I can’t take a step back and write a nice, comforting feature story without struggling to start it. I should actually follow the advice I give myself here.

Today, I started a new feature, which is due tomorrow. I, again, struggled through starting it, with a lead that I really took the time to “create” and change the lead to be a bit lighter and more fun. It took longer than I wanted and it’s still not done, but the rest will be easy for me. I just want the whole process to be smoother.

I’ll put a link here to that story when it’s done.

Update 7/19: The feature has been put on hold until further notice. I won’t forget to put it up here!


Some of my feature samples over the last month or so. Be nice!

Firefighter’s pilgrimage CVFA gets a Big Apple slice from the FDNY

Check out the new digs NCVD marches from old to new station

Innovation in Andover Three entrepreneurs have high hopes for ‘Chairbot’


6 Responses to My Problem with Features

  1. BrittanyEBurke says:

    we’re opposite…give me a feature story any day of the week ha

  2. Pingback: A Lead Writing “Trick” « Just Starting Out

  3. Pingback: Features? No Problem « Just Starting Out

  4. Pingback: Lead Writing 11 Months In « Just Starting Out

  5. Pingback: Feature Story Update | Just Starting Out

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