As this is one of the first articles to be posted on Youth Canada, I thought it appropriate to write about what articles really are about. Let’s start off with an introduction to articles, shall we? What really are articles? Well, articles are extended pieces of writing that are meant to be informative, entertaining, or persuasive, offering the reader some insight into a different perspective i.e. yours. Now that you know what articles are, let’s discuss what comprises GOOD articles.
A mandatory component of any good article is cohesiveness. Your article should flow. Your article should not contradict itself in various places. Your article should be easy to read and understand. The best way to go about this is to plan around one central theme and limit digressions. For example, since I focused my article on how to write good articles, I would go over the characteristics of good articles and how to incorporate these characteristics into your writing. It really helps if you signpost your ideas, or lay them out in the beginning. Tell your reader what you’ll be covering so that he won’t be surprised when he sees a slight change of topic.
Another very important aspect that is sometimes overlooked is content. No matter how good of a writer you are, it’s very difficult to write an interesting article on which you have no knowledge. Always research your topic beforehand so that you have a clear picture of the subject you’re dealing with. This is especially important when you’re writing a persuasive article, because you need to present a clear case with concrete evidence in order to assert your views.
Knowing your audience is a very difficult yet crucial part of a good article. Tone your vocabulary to the people you’re reaching out to. Know what they’ll think, and write accordingly. There is no better way to captivate a reader than to demonstrate that you understand what he feels. This is an acquired skill and not an exact science, so the only way to really improve on this aspect is to write more articles…for Youth Canada XD
Finally, when you’re writing an article, you should always look to interest the reader. Some humor is always appreciated as it retains the reader’s attention span, but too much and your point will be muffled by the humor. Keep a lively feel so that your article doesn’t sound like a college dissertation. I lied about the “finally” part. The actual final advice is, be concise without losing the meaning of the article. If you approach every sentence in a roundabout, flowery way, the reader will get bored at the tedious task of deciphering the meaning very quickly. Pretty easy, huh?
So now that you know how to write a good article, what should you do next? Why, practice of course! Youth Canada can always use good articles such as yours, and writing articles is an excellent way to express your opinions and get feedback from others. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much that you’ll want to go into journalism!
WILLIAM SONG is a grade 12 student currently enrolled in the Port Moody Secondary School IB Diploma Programme. An alumnus of Shad Valley Waterloo 2008, he joined Impact as an intern for the summer of 2008 and continues to contribute to Youth Canada.
Image courtesy of user "_StaR_DusT_" on Flickr.com, via Creative Commons License http://www.flickr.com/photos/star-dust/775368469/