Write in Style: A Guide to Good English

By Richard Palmer | Go to book overview

12

ARTICLES

This is a short chapter, because most of what you need to consider when writing an article has already been covered under Essays. An article is an essay, obviously enough; however, the circumstances in which it is written and a number of technical matters make it worth investigating as a genre in its own right.

Unlike the majority of essays, articles are written for publication. They are also different from essays in that the dimension of compulsion is absent. People who write articles do so because they want to, because they're being paid for it, or both. Naturally, once you've accepted a commission or decided that you want to write a piece for submission somewhere, the pressure to get on with it is considerable; nevertheless, the original choice is yours, not imposed on you by teachers or superiors. And the choice of subject and title is also yours, which should mean that some of the agony that attends essay writing-do I know what I'm talking about yet? Do I know what I want to say?-is also absent. If it makes little sense to begin an essay before you're sufficiently knowledgeable to deal with the subject at issue, it makes no sense at all to contemplate being published on something you're not yet competent on, and I can't imagine any would-be serious writer being that foolish.

So far, so very cheering: you want to write your article because the subject matters to you, you know plenty about it, and you want to share your views with a lot of readers. These are major positives, and together with the technical strengths that I hope the previous chapter has vouchsafed, they should ensure that you do an essentially sound and vigorous job. But there are one or two constraints or special considerations when engaged on an article that do not always apply to ordinary essays.


12.1

WORD LIMITS

I have yet to meet or hear of an editor for whom space is not a permanent problem. Any magazine that survives for even a few weeks will normally have more material 'in house' than it can currently use, and the stuff it

-189-

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Write in Style: A Guide to Good English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • From the Reviews: vi
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exercises xi
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Preface xv
  • Part One - Engage Brain and Ear Before Writing 1
  • 1 - Disasters 3
  • 2 - Triumphs 9
  • Part Two - Foundations 13
  • 3 - Introduction 15
  • 4 - Bone Structure 16
  • 5 - Joints 28
  • Part Three - Style 65
  • 6 - Introduction: Style Versus Fashion 67
  • 7 - Fight the Flab 70
  • 8 - Voice 109
  • Part Four - Tailor-Made 139
  • 9 - Introduction 141
  • 10 - Letters 142
  • 11 - Essays 161
  • 12 - Articles 189
  • 13 - Reviews 192
  • 14 - Reports 194
  • 15 - Minutes 199
  • 16 - Précis and Summary 203
  • 17 - Reportage 225
  • Part Five - Grammar Primer 229
  • 18 - Grammar Primer 231
  • 19 - Inflections 274
  • 20 - Syntax 286
  • 21 - Parts of Speech (Advanced) 294
  • 22 - Punctuation in Speech and Quotation 315
  • 23 - Spelling and Confusibles 327
  • Appendix: Answers to Exercises 343
  • Further Reading 355
  • Authors, Sources and Named References 359
  • Subject Index 361
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