Chapter By Chapter: Magazine Writing That Sells

Chapter by Chapter:



Don McKinney

Copyright 1994 – Writer’s Digest Books


Chapter One – The First Secret Ingredient: Ideas

      “The genius of business is ideas,” Bill Emerson, articles editor for Saturday Evening Post.

  1. Where do ideas come from?
    1. Read For Ideas, where most freelance writers get their ideas

Newspapers, magazines, want ads.

Train yourself to read the newspaper in a different way. Read each story thinking about how it might be developed into a magazine article.

               B. Reuse old stories

      Consider different publications options, local, technical, commercial. Professional publications.

  1. Go Places
  2. Anniversaries – for famous and highly publicized events, also not so obvious events.
  3. Clip File – When you find an interesting article, clip it out and save it.
  4. Personal Experience – If something has caused a problem for you, it probably has caused problems for others.
  5. Friends – Good guides to new trends and ideas.
  6. Seasonal ideas – consider seasonal issues: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day etc.
  7. What’s been done – try and find out what has already been done and if you can find a new approach to it.
  8. Analyzing a Magazine
    1. Make sure you’re sending query to the right magazine
    2. Pitch it in the right way.
    3. Remember every magazine is different, with a specific focus and ideal audience.
    4. Study the magazine careful to see what kind of articles they publish. What is the tone of the magazine, straightforward? Anecdotes?



About davepyl

Though I have held many jobs over the years, being a fiction writer has always been my main interest even though I may not have always pursued it well enough. Originally from Princeton, IN, where I graduated High School and took writing related courses, I went on to attend Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN, and obtained a degree in journalism. After working a few years as a journalist and freelance nonfiction writer, I pursed other careers. late in the 90’s my interest in writing fiction resurged with stronger and better ideas, I have taken courses through Full Sail University to help me hone my skills as a creative writer. Now my plans are to focus more on writing fiction in addition to my day job and build it as a career in as many ways as I can: books, short stories, scripts, comicbooks. My writing credentials include: *KNOX COUNTY DAILY NEWS | Feb 1988 – April 1992; Staff Writer / Journalist; * OFFICIAL DETECTIVE MAGAZINE GROUP | 1990 – 1992Freelance Writer / Photographer; *VIETNAM MAGAZINE | April 1995 • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “Operation Babylift” *MIDNIGHT ZOO | May/June 1991 • Contributing Writer (Poem) – “Lady In Black” *REUNIONS MAGAZINE Summer, 1995 * Contributing Writer Reunion at George Field *QUILTER’S WORLD | April 2004 • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “Two Visionaries” *STORYTELLER MAGAZINE | Nov/Dec 2010. • Contributing Writer (Short Story) – “The Ol’ Conner Place” short story *TALES OF THE TALISMAN | Oct 2011 • Contributing Writer (Poem) – “Bloody Red Riding Hood” *REUNIONS MAGAZINE Fall/Winter 2012 * Contributing Writer Morgan/Bivens Family Reunion * Frontier Tales magazine/ Winter 2012/ Battle of Three Lakes and what inspired you to write your book. The battle between the ani-men and the JLA, from Justice League America issues 221-223-1984.
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