wr0. Course introduction
wr1. Writing fundamentals
wr1-0. Introduction :29
wr1-1. Chose simple words :54
wr1-2. More verbs less adjectives :33
wr1-3. Use the present tense 1:05
wr1-4. Compound your sentences :25
wr1-5. Keep paragraphs short:29
wr1-6. Use the past tense 1:13
wr1-7. Review :56
wr2. Planning your message
wr2-0. Introduction: 1:06
wr2-1. Start with the ending: :36
wr2-2. Now start your beginning :19
wr2-3. Adjusting the middle 1:01
wr2-4. Captions add picture value 1:15
wr2-5. Headlines attract readers :44
wr2-6. Review 1:07
wr3. Writing with purpose
wr3-0. Introduction :37
wr3-1. Feature you 1:29
wr3-2. A short video script :47
wr3-3. Press release 1:26
wr3-4. Business cover letter 1:33
wr3-5. Instruction manual 1:18
wr3-6. Review :33
wr4. No this
wr4-0. Introduction 1:12
wr4-1. No alphabet soup 1:11
wr4-2. No abbreviations :45
wr4-3. No contractions :46
wr4-4. No slang and no swearing 2:19
wr4-5. No misspelling :56
wr4-6. Never misspell names :50
wr4-7. Review :38
wr3-1. Feature You
In this lesson, you will write a feature story using what you have learned in this course.
The theme is to tell us about something you know, maybe a simple recipe, where you live, how you dress, something that will be easy to describe, and your memory is fresh and filled with facts.
Keep it light, and keep it fun. Now, we're going to go back over the principles.
Start with an outline.
Item #1. Write a one or two-line ending. If you are writing a lifestyle feature, you may want a happy, surprising, or amusing ending.
If you want the reader to do something, known as a call-to-action," clearly state what you want the reader to do after reading your article.
This might be respond to your offer, get more information, call your representative, visit a place, etc. In each case, make it easy for the reader to follow up by providing details of how to follow up.
You can also add a paragraph or details after you complete the story. For example, include a section or link of "where to buy,"or "contact information."
Item #2. Write your beginning. Intrigue or amuse us.
Item #3. Write one word for each part you will write about. For example, if you're going to do a story about how you're dressing today, write #1 shoes, #2 slacks, and #3 shirt.
If you want to lengthen your story, add #4 and #5. If you are going to shorten it, remove an item or two.
After you have created your outline, add a few sentences to each item.
Maybe you will need to adjust your opening and ending.
Item #4. Photo captions
Item #5. Create a headline that intrigues so the reader wants to read more
But basically, that's it. You have yourself the makings of a feature story.
Background: I went to Lake Como, Italy to do a feature story an Italian designer, Beppe Spadacini, who specializes in vacation fashion. So every time he has to work, he goes on vacation.
They Call Me Mr. Vacation
Photos & Text by Harris Gaffin
Beppe Spadacini just returned with his family from their farmhouse on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Capri. Beppe is always on vacation. That may be because the more he holidays, the better he works.
Beppe has made a good living by creating textile designs and items for vacation wear and travel. His themes are vacation-inspired, and his work takes the shape of scarves, bags, wraps, shirts, dresses, murals, illustrations, books, postcards, even picture frames.
Beppe comes from Cernobbio on Lake Como in northern Italy. With beautiful hills falling into a large clean lake, dotted with 500-year-old mansions, Como seems like a resort area but is the traditional center of Italian textile making.
Beppe leaves his 100-year-old Art Deco-style home surrounded by huge trees and shrubs. He walks to the town dock wearing a polo shirt with a toucan emblem, Bermuda shorts, and sneakers. The ferry comes and takes him across the tranquil lake for a refreshing 20-minute ride with a spectacular view.
"I like to come to work feeling fresh," he says.
At work, he greets a client, a big-name fashion designer, who seems more like a friend. The two go to the bar next door for a morning cappuccino on the terrace by the lake.
In the studio, Beppe works at a desk the same size as those of his 12 assistants.
He is designing a logo for his new fashion line with a skill no fashion designer can do.
This is because Beppe isn't a designer. He is an illustrator and a master with the airbrush. Many big-name designers who lack art skills hire him to design themes for their fashion lines.
The desk is covered with wildlife and plant books because Beppe's themes are typically jungle, animals, and birds. Several walls are covered with reference material that includes historic encyclopedias on natural history. The conference room is surrounded by pillows and murals Beppe designed.
Beppe's work is recognized for its airbrush effect and cheerful vacation colors often depicting lush green vegetation scenes with lots of toucans. The toucan is his business logo. After a few phone calls, Beppe heads for his studio where most of his creative work takes place.
Textile designers are often fashion designers' silent partners. A famous designer may call Beppe and order a "collection" of scarves. Many big names have worked with Beppe, Armani, Versace, Missoni, Ferre, Valentino, Lancetti, Issey Miyake. Unwritten law is that his work goes unsigned.
However written law protects against copying without compensation. Copies of his illustrations have become towels in Brazil, umbrellas in Milan, T-shirts in Bali, blouses in Honolulu, dresses in New York, scarves in Tokyo, furniture fabric in France, and swimwear everywhere under the sun. When his imitators are caught, some of them buy the license and become paying customers.
Studio Tocano pops out 3,000 designers per year, 2,000 with tropical themes.
"I never see Mr. Beppe working, he's always on vacation," jokes one of his clients. That's because when he works, he gets the job done quickly. At the famous Villa d'Este, he painted the indoor pool mural in 20 days.
Beppe has a vacation house in Bali where the family spends two to three months each year. He also has homes in Capri and Como, two of Italy's most beautiful vacation spots.
Despite his success, Beppe believes textile designers are at the end of their era. Computer graphics and photocopies can easily repeat patterns and adjust past images. Now, he designs his luggage line and fashion label, always with a vacation theme, his field of expertise.
Success came early for Beppe. Born on a local farm, Beppe's father never pushed him to study and even encouraged him to find an interesting job. Como was filled with textile design houses and Beppe started at one at age 15. By his early 20s, he had his design studio and hustled his drawings locally.
"All my life I took a lot of vacation," he says. He notes that 20 years ago when most Italians took 10 days, he took a month. Now when 30 days is common, he takes 90 days.
Beppe, who is married with two children, never dresses formally at his office and believes the world, especially the Japanese, needs to learn the art of casual dress.
"They appreciate high-quality material but most vacation resorts offer low quality and cheap goods," he says. "They, more than anyone should learn to shop before going on vacation."
That would suit Beppe's seven boutiques in Japan (link to Japan’s seven boutiques) just fine. They were set up to provide exactly that service.
Write a feature story about yourself, 500 words and photos of yourself and things that tell us about you.