Another view on modeling, by expert Angela Booth.
Freelance Writing For Absolute Beginners, Part Two-Modeling To Write
By Angela Booth
If you're a writer, and even if you've yet to sell a word, you know you're a writer. Many writers know who they are from a young age, as soon as they realize that someone writes the stories they love to read. With other writers, the love of writing, and the knowledge that they're a writer, sneaks up on them.
So here you are, a newly minted freelance writer, and of course you write, but now you want to sell your writing. As we discussed in Part One of the this article, the fundamental of freelance writing is that people make money from your words. For those people to make money from your words, the words you hope to sell must be in a certain form - a novel, a screenplay, a white paper, a Yellow Pages advertisement, a Web site - your buyers buy a bunch of words in some form or other.
The Key To Form: Audience And Response
The key to any form, is AUDIENCE and RESPONSE. As with most of the fundamentals of freelance writing, most writers write for years without becoming aware of this bedrock requirement. I managed to write successfully for at least a decade without having a clue about what I was doing. Had I learned audience/ response earlier, I'm sure I would have had an easier time of both writing and selling my writing.
Always keep audience/ response in the back of your mind. It applies to everything you write, and ensuring that your writing is laser-targeted to audience/ response ensures that any piece of writing sells.
When a piece of writing isn't working, the clue is often in audience/ response. For example, let's say you've written a mystery novel. You try to sell it, but it's rejected. You remember audience/ response. OK, the audience is people who love mysteries - they love working out puzzles. The response required is for them to read to the end of the novel by continually finding clues and solutions. Understanding this, you revise your novel. You discover how to create characters with secrets and a great mystery puzzle by modeling six mystery novels, then you create another outline for your own. When you've finished, each character in the novel has a secret for the reader to discover, and a greatly enhanced primary puzzle. Your novel sells.
Tip: Write It Down - Who's The Audience? What's The Required Response?
Don't try to keep audience/response in your head. It doesn't work. Write it down. Stick audience/ response on your computer monitor where you can see it.
You can write in any form by modeling examples of the form. You model by: collecting examples, outlining those examples, and writing practice outlines of those models.
Modeling A Form: Collect Examples, Outline Them, And Create Practice Outlines
A "model" is defined as a "system or thing, used as an example to follow or imitate".
Modeling a form works for everything you want to write. It works for novels, articles, advertisements, nonfiction books: whatever the form, find examples, and outline them. Then create your own practice outlines for your current project in that particular form.
Yes, this is a lot of work. However, it's work that you must do. Nowadays, editors don't edit - they don't have time. They expect that your article or book will be pretty much in its final form. If you're writing copy, it's also vital that you model what works (copywriters keep "swipe" files of models so they can copy forms), because your clients are counting on you.
Modeling isn't copying, per se. You're not copying words. You're copying form, structure, and voice.
I know many writers who baulk at this kind of analysis. If this is you, you can shorten the process. For example, let's say you want to write an article for a magazine. Collect six issues of the magazine. Read all the articles. Then find six example articles of the kind of article you want to write. Read those examples several times each, with close attention. Make some notes for yourself, thinking about why certain headlines were used (write this down - writing something down fixes it in your mind). Count the number of words in each article. Count the anecdotes, and count the number of people quoted. Now write your own article.
Modeling successful examples is the KEY to writing anything that you want to write. I wish you much success with modeling. I've used modeling to write many projects, from advertisements to books. You can too.
Angela Booth is a veteran freelance writer and copywriter. She also teaches writing. Visit her blogs - Angela Booth's Writing Blog at http://copywriter.typepad.com/ and Fab Freelance Writing at http://fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/ for daily writing inspiration and motivation. Subscribe to the Fab Freelance Writing Ezine at http://fabfreelancewriting.com/ezine/fab-freelance-writing-ezine.html to receive "Write And Sell Your Writing: The Power-Write Report" free. It's 21 pages packed with information to help you to develop a six-figure writing career.
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