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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2016 > Features desk: Feature perfect

Features desk: Feature perfect

Structure your feature article from snappy first line to satisfying conclusion with advice from Tina Jackson

You are a feature writer. A major part of your job is to write distinctively and interestingly. And a necessity of the job is that you do that within a particular structure.

For a journalist, learning how to put together a feature article is like a doctor learning how bones fit together – ie, a basic requirement. One you’ve got a structure, the creative fun can begin as you clad your bones with words that draw readers into what you’re telling them.

It’s probably a good idea, right at the beginning, to remember that feature-writing has similarities with cooking as well as anatomy: you can follow a recipe to the letter if you’re the sort of person who prefers to do it that way, but what you are really doing is assembling ingredients, and just as you might add mustard and nutmeg to turn your everyday cauliflower cheese into food of the gods, your feature can be adjusted to taste. A really good feature writer may not be a recipe-follower, but the kind of person who cooks (or writes!) with a fearless, instinctive understanding of what goes where and when. As long as you know that your leg bone is connected to your thigh bone and not your shoulder bone, don’t worry about being too prescriptive.

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What's the story: Create a page-turning plot Your self-publishing success stories Feature perfect: Hook readers from the first line Masterclass: Thrill your readers like Andy McNab Star interview: Maggie O'Farrell – 'Starting to write seriously was life-changing' News you can use: 20 packed pages of Writers' News • Exclusive competitions • Win over £31,000 in prizes • What to write • Where to get published

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