Rochester Women Magazine: Channel Your Inner Picasso

The latest edition of Rochester Women Magazine is available. I had a lot of fun with this edition. The article features several local businesses that host painting and wine parties. You can find the article here.

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vangogh painting brushstroke haiku

Vincent Van Gogh Painting

Today’s Haiku:

somber winter day
sipping wine and splashing paint
swollen brush strokes

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Does anyone else have recent magazine articles being published?

Enjoy your day!

~Nicole

Magazine Writing: Types of Articles Part II

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

Today’s tips are a two-part series. Last week we discussed service pieces and profiles. Today, we are discussing participatory pieces, investigative pieces and personal essays.

Types of Articles:

Some of the most popular are:

  1. service pieces – last week
  2. profiles – last week
  3. participatory pieces – today’s post
  4. investigative pieces – today’s post
  5. personal essays/op-ed pieces – today’s post

PARTICIPATORY PIECES

In participatory articles, the journalist either participates in an activity and writes about it, or observes someone so closely that the reader feels like she is actually participating in the event. These are awesome pieces to read when written correctly because it feels like you are walking in the shoes of someone else.

Tips to writing good participatory pieces:

  1. Make sure you’ve got a storyline—a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s your job as a writer to shape your experience so that the reader doesn’t just get a list of “what happened next.”
  2. Be sure to include detail, but not every detail. Details should add an understanding to the piece and work to move the story along. For instance, if you’re writing about a day in the gym, it would be important to the reader to know how people at the gym—staff and patrons—were dressed.
  3. Make sure you include the ups and downs of the experience. If you’re doing a piece about being a shoe salesman, include the periods of boredom (but write them, of course, in a non-boring way—you certainly don’t want to put your reader to sleep).

INVESTIGATIVE PIECES

There are two types of investigative articles, chronological or topical. The chronological, of course, unfolds through time and the topical revolves around issues and arguments.

For this type of article, reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption or corporate wrongdoing.

PERSONAL ESSAYS

There was little information about this topic in the book, so I discovered more on my own. Check out this link from Jessica Smock.

A personal essay is about self-expression. This type of work illustrates how you think or feel about a certain topic.

Here are six tips to writing a personal essay, according to Smock:

  1. Develop characters, settings and plot.
  2. Your writing should also express and reveal a larger meaning, a theme, a deeper truth, beyond the surface details of plot and character.
  3. Find your voice.
  4. Choose specific and compelling moments, memories, and feelings, and hone in on them, using those particular moments to help to convey theme and purpose.
  5. Be specific.
  6. Try out different literary devices and techniques, such as similes, personification, and metaphors.

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.

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 try again haiku

Today’s Haiku

adversity strikes
skinned psyche stinging and raw
try, try again

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What do you do when adversity strikes?

Have a great day!

~Nicole

Girl on the Go: Visit Split Rock Lighthouse

I love Friday! Not only because the weekend is almost underway, but because I get to dream about all the places I want to visit!

This time, we’re headed up to the North Shore. The next item to hit the Girl on the Go list: I want to pay a visit Split Rock Lighthouse! This one may also be achievable this summer! I’ll keep you posted!

split rock lighthouse haiku

image credit: www.mprnews.org

Today’s Haiku:

brilliant beam of light
shouts to strolling barges—
the quiet moon hides

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Have you ever been to a lighthouse?

Have a great weekend!

~Nicole

Magazine Writing: Types of Articles

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

Today’s tips are a two-part series. When I read blogs I often need shorter chunks of information to process. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I want to be respectful of your time, and I also want you to gain something from this blog post.

Types of Articles:

Some of the most popular are:

  1. service pieces – today’s post
  2. profiles – today’s post
  3. participatory pieces – next week
  4. investigative pieces – next week
  5. personal essays/op-ed pieces – next week

SERVICE PIECES

These are the easiest to write because they’re straightforward and focused by nature. They basically fall into three categories

  1. how to do something (cooking, gardening, and home improvement)
  2. where to find something (shopping or travel)
  3. how to deal with something (health and fitness)

These articles are easy to structure. Start with the introduction, in which you explain the service you’re writing about and how you obtained your information. Then, establish voice and tone, the best service pieces are also entertaining, but not so entertaining that they lose sight of the main purpose of the article: to impart useful information.

PROFILES

These are not résumé. You want to know what makes someone tick, which doesn’t mean everything this person has done in their life. After reading a successful profile, you should feel like you could pick the subject out of a crowd without ever having seen her before, simply by watching and listening to her for a short time.

Tips for a good profile:

  • Pick a theme. What’s special about the subject? What is the most likely to interest your readers? Provide the conflict or tension that keeps the reader interested. If you don’t have a theme, your profile will flop.
  • Through research and interviews, try to get as much insight as you can into what makes your subject tick.
  • Don’t forget physical descriptions, which includes the subject’s wardrobe.
  • Be sure to get input from other voices—-people who know the subject and are willing to share insights with you.

Next week: Next week, we will finish up the with Types of Articles and the Magazine Writing section in this book. I’ll give you a hint as to what I’ll be featuring for Tuesday’s Tips in the future.

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.

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 robin and snow haiku

Today’s Haiku

orange tuft of feathers
blocking out the cold, covets
the warmth of spring

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Have you ever written a service piece or profile piece?

Happy Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!

~Nicole

Whispers and Whirlwinds

The Haiku Horizons haiku prompt for this week is “pass.” At first glance, I had no idea what I was going to write using the word “pass.” When I started to think about pictures I wanted to use to go along with my haiku, I thought about trains passing through mountains. Then, I started thinking about all the passes, or roads leading through or over mountains, in Colorado.

Why Colorado? Because I used to live there. And not a day goes by that wonder why I left and why I haven’t been able to get back there permanently.

io-grande-national-forest-in-autumn-colorado haiku

Aspen, Colorado

Today’s Haiku:

new life begins
whispers and whirlwinds collide
as she passes through

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Have you made decisions in the past that you still question today?

Have a terrific Monday!

~Nicole

Girl on the Go: Sailing

Hey, hey, it’s Friday!

It’s that time again. The next item to hit the Girl on the Go list is sailing! I think I can pencil this in for the summer of 2015. In the last couple of weeks, I have added a few items to my list that are going to take a little while to achieve, but this one is easier because of all the lakes in Minnesota.

sailing apostle islands haiku

Today’s Haiku:

the sail is moving
swiftly through the clouds; melting
into the warm sun

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Have you ever been sailing?

Have a great weekend!

~Nicole