When taking up feature writing one is faced with several options. There exist a multitude of themes on which a feature can be written. A few of these are discussed below.
- The ‘human interest’ feature is easily the most popular article among newspaper and magazine articles. Because, unlike a professional, unemotional, clinical and statistical news report, the human interest features focus on the human and humane aspects of our lives.
- The depiction tugs at our heart strings because of the sympathetic rendering of the more emotional aspects of any event – be it a fire, floods, stampede, riots, earthquake, or an environmental disaster like the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill.
- Usual accurate and statistical newspaper and television reports (with their 5Ws and 1H strait-jacket) tend to pack in too many facts and figures, for their human and emotional aspects to survive. Human interest stories, “side-bars”, colour stories and features help to ‘humanise’ the happening in simpler terms and put readers at the trouble spot.
- Writers of human interest stories are those who like people, who relish the inconsistencies and frailties of men and women in their reactions to the problems around them. In writing human interest stories, the tendency is to go overboard, exaggerate, make tall claims and over-write. It is important to exercise restraint; avoid over-writing, and be accurate so that your credibility is never damaged.
- Features these days include Lifestyle articles, which have a huge and growing readership. In some ways, it is a symptom of the frantic, stressful lives we lead, unrelieved by comforting tidings.
- These ‘soft’ and ‘feel-good’ features are often displayed, embellished by a cartoon or illustrations. Quite often, the lighter depiction forms the basis of a ‘humorous editorial’ in a day or two.
- If anything, this colour and display proclaims that not everything has to be about the seamier side of life, such as terror, death, destruction, murder and mayhem.
The various topics possible covered by lifestyle features are:
Seasonal and Festival
- India’s cultural calendar is a cavalcade of joyous community festivals of different religious groups and linguistic groups.
- These festivals fall on specific days in the respective religious calendars and link their celebrations with a magic, seasonal flavour.
- This variety of seasonal festivals spawns a variegated array of features throughout the calendar year. The list of topics on offer to the feature writer is:
Travelogue, Tourism and Adventure feature
Travelogues and tourism
- Among the new entrants to the genre of feature writing are the ‘travelogues’, which deal with the mix of travel, tourism and the hospitality industry.
- Today we find a steadily growing number of domestic and international tourists keen to see our ancient heritage. Thus, feature writers need to provide information through sensitive writing, promotions and highlighting of the tourism venues.
- Feature writers are needed in large numbers to create a good ‘image’ a tourist destination. This is done by photo-features, collages, travelogues and re-portages.
- Travel literature typically records the people, events, sights and feelings of an author who is touring a foreign place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary.
- To be called literature the work must have a coherent narrative, or insights and value, beyond a mere logging of dates and events, such as diary or ship’s log.
- Literature that recounts adventure and conquest is often grouped under travel literature, but it also has its own genre called outdoor literature. These genres will often overlap with no definite boundaries. This article focuses on literature that is more akin to tourism.
Types of travelogues
- Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or it may involve travel to different regions within the same country. Accounts of spaceflight may also be considered as travel literature.
- Fictional travelogues make up a large proportion of travel literature. Although it may be desirable in some contexts to distinguish fictional from non-fictional works, such distinctions have proved notoriously difficult to make in practice, as in the famous instance of the travel writings of Marco Polo or John Mandeville.
- Many “fictional” works of travel literature are based on factual journeys – Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, presumably Homer’s Odyssey– while other works, though based on imaginary and even highly fantastic journeys – Dante’s Divine Comedy ,Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas– nevertheless contain factual elements.
- A travel journal, also called road journal or travelogue, is a record made by a voyager. Generally in diary form, a travel journal contains descriptions of the traveler’s experiences, is normally written during the course of the journey, and may or may not be intended for publishing
The ‘APPLAUSE’ formula
- A good feature should suggestively have APPLAUSE formula. Prof. C. Schoenfeld had discovered the acronym for a good feature.
• A Appeal
• P Plain facts
• P Personalities
• L Logic
• A Action
• U Universal/ Unique
• S Significance
• E Energy/ Enthusiasm
APPLAUSE provides another approach to elusive search for the ideal feature.