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Using Your Research to Fuel Your Writing

April 14th, 2017

First, thanks to Douglas for last week’s blog. It really goes to show that you should never shy away from approaching experts if you need facts for your writing. There are innumerable museums, stately homes, art galleries, and state-of-the-art tourist attractions out there. A quick email to their PR department or to the address indicated on their website could put you in touch with someone who can help you with your research. Who knows, you may even get a personal guided tour!

And don’t dismiss factories, garden centres and retail outlets. If you want food facts, information on how things are made, or grow, don’t be afraid to ask. What’s the worst that can happen? They might say no and you’ll have to move on to the next source on your list. Have confidence in yourself  – think positively and act positively! Read the rest of this entry »




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Clocking up Some First-hand Experience

April 7th, 2017

A while back – maybe a year maybe two – I’d listened in to a radio article about the public clocks in Edinburgh and how they were all to be fully automated by the end of 2016. I wrote a flash fiction out of that listening. Then early this year I re-read the flash and thought there was a fuller story to be told, so I started in on it… only to discover how little I knew about clocks and big mechanisms. I needed to do some research.

Usually my research involves trawling the internet, but what was missing for my story was the feel and the smell and the sound of turret-clocks. There are no records for that. I needed to see for myself. I wrote to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. I knew they had one such clock and I knew they did tours of the Cathedral, but I did not know if these tours took you inside the clock-tower. I was put in touch with David, The Beadle. Read the rest of this entry »




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Making Your Research Work For You

July 18th, 2014

Last week I promised you that you’d be hearing from Susan Stevenson – unfortunately she’s been unable to provide a post so you’ll just have to put up with me again!

Rather than providing a miscellany, like I normally do, I thought I’d give you something more concrete – some sound advice on getting the maximum number of articles from your research. It’s the best way I know of making your time more profitable.

Here’s an example! Say you’ve researched Shea Butter for an article concentrating on the skin beautifying effects for publication in a women’s magazine. Once your first article is complete, you can use your research for other articles by changing the angle slightly. So think about who else would or could use Shea Butter and what magazines might accept an article on that subject. Off the top of my head, I can think of these different angles:

•          health magazines – concentrating on the health benefits of using a natural moisturiser or warning about the need to buy pure, unadulterated Shea Butter. You can also target men’s health magazines and discuss Shea Butter as a substitute for shaving foam and as a moisturiser after shaving.

•          pregnancy and baby magazines – looking at how to use Shea Butter to prevent stretch marks or how the chemical-free formula is great for babies and has a long tradition of use amongst the traditional people of Africa.

•          green/eco magazines – emphasis on chemical free, good to the environment, less pollution, traditional uses etc.

•          holiday magazines – highlight how Shea Butter can be used to treat bites, stings and sunburn in a natural way.

•          fitness magazines – pointing out that it’s useful for easing fatigued muscles, caused by strenuous exercise.

•          magazines for the care industry – showing how it can be used to ease tired muscles, stresses and strains and as a moisturiser for thin skin on the elderly or infirm.

•          magazine for those suffering from skin complaints or allergies – highlight its use as an effective treatment for skin problems such as eczema.

•          hair magazines – concentrate on using Shea Butter as a hair conditioner.

•          cooking magazines – culinary uses of this versatile oil could be covered here.

•          craft magazines – discuss the benefits of using Shea Butter as an ingredient in soaps and creams and the quantities needed.

That’s 10 additional markets you could aim an article at using the same research.  You will need to tailor your work to each individual publication but the main bulk of your research has already been done.

Another way to get more than one sale out of the research is to send it to multiple magazines of the same genre. When you do this, you keep the main topic, such as the beautifying effects, but you alter the wording of the article so it’s different and, where possible, provide different pictures.

If you’d like to read more on this topic and various other aspects of improving your article writing skills, why not have a look at our Article Writing course. It’ll teach you how to research, write and send your articles for publication.

And finally, if you’d like to write a Friday ‘guest post’ then don’t be shy!  All you need to do is contact me (dianan@writersbureau.com)  with your idea – it should be 3-500 words in length and on a writing related topic – plus a short biog and a picture of yourself or something relevant to your post.




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Useful Websites

February 24th, 2014

Hello All,

When you’re writing about things you have little personal knowledge of, it can be tricky to know how to get it right. This is where your powers of research will come into their own and the internet should be the first place you visit. I’d suggest you set up a file that lists all the websites you find useful so you can refer to them quickly time and again. Read the rest of this entry »




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A Way With Words

November 29th, 2013

First, thanks to Jane for her post on research. At one time writers were told “Write about what you know.” Now, I think “What you know, or what you can find out about” is more appropriate! And it’s never been easier to find the facts and the background information you need or contact an expert for help. Read the rest of this entry »




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