Mini-articles, sometimes called 'briefs' or 'short takes' can be anything from 200 to 500 words long, and they bear close similarity to everyday fillers, being both easy to produce and very rewarding if published. This is what you need to know to generate regular income from writing mini-articles.
* Writing mini-articles is a good way to get yourself known to editors who may commission you for longer features later.
* Begin by writing about subjects that interest you in magazines you read yourself.
* Watch out for special sections in some publications, where editors invite features on a common theme, sometimes a recipe or poem, frequently complaints, and so on.
* Anniversaries and celebrations are ideal subjects for you to concentrate on. Christmas, historic events, celebrity birthdays, make popular fillers for most publication types.
* Sentences and paragraphs should be short and punchy. Longer sentences and paragraphs look out of place and make hard work of reading these shorter pieces.
* Try to be different. Even if the subject is common, look for an unusual feature or aspect to focus on. Make it one that readers can relate to and make sure nothing similar has featured recently.
* Start by listing all main points you might include in your mini-article. List these in order of importance, from '1' for most important down to however many points there are. This is usually the order they will take in your finished piece, but not always, and some editors favour keeping the most important, sometimes second most important piece to close the feature. Careful market research of your target magazines will help you spot what editors like and will increase your success rate.
* Stick to the article's focus. Make sure each word deserves its place in your manuscript. Go through with a highlighter pen, marking essential pieces and looking for any that might be deleted.
* Avoid all unnecessary duplication. Look for related facts - similar or opposing - which might combine to form one sentence.
* Make your lead as strong as possible. Try including something to shock readers or search for odd and little known fact about your subject. Anything to attract and retain reader interest. This is what will compel the editor, and ultimately his readers, to finish reading your work.
* Try to get on as many press release mailing lists as you can. Press releases are an invaluable source of ideas for all kinds of manuscript. To illustrate, I recently received a press release from Dog's Trust, formerly the National Canine Defence League, telling me that a new NCDL site was being opened close by. Celebrity Loyd Grossman was opening the event. From this tiny scrap of information I received several commissions to report on and photograph the event for dog lovers' magazines.
* Don't combine two or more subjects, albeit related. If you have too much material, save some for a future article on the same subject.
* Don't pad your work. If you don't have enough material for an article in your target magazine, rewrite your work for another magazine or research for further information.
* Do not use long, complicated words when everyday words will do. Articles should be easy and enjoyable to read.
Avril Harper is the author of How to Be a Five Minute Writer and spends a great deal of her own full-time writing day creating short pieces for regular, high ticket rewards.
See more at http://www.1st-in-creative-writing.com