sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

Research resources February 4, 2010

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:43 pm
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I’m currently writing an article on how to get teenage boys to work when all they want to do is play video games and ignore their mothers. Because this epidemic is viral, perhaps I should charge for the advice. . . . 😀

So where does a girl go to get the information she needs for such an article?
The local bookstore
Personal experience
Friends
Forums
HARO
The local library

I went to the bookstore rather than the library this time, because I had to kill time and I wanted the most up-to-date books on the subject. I had my notebook, I had extra shots in my fancy coffee (that I deserved because I was working), I had half a shelf of parenting books; and I folded myself into a corner of the coffee area to take notes.

When it comes to personal experience, all most people want to know is a) that you can identify with their pain, and b) what you did to fix the problem. The same goes for stories from friends. If you can tell the story with humor, all the better. People need to laugh at themselves or they might cry.

I posted a question on a forum I enjoy—one that has a high level of interaction—and within hours I had many responses on what other moms do with their sons. While I won’t quote these in my article unless I have express permission from the women who wrote them, it’s always good to have a variety of opinions and suggestions. I never put last names in articles, especially, in this case, when moms are bemoaning the laziness of their children.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is something I am relatively new to, but it is a wonderful place for reporters and writers to glean from the savviness of experts. HARO sends out an e-mail 2-3 times a day to their 80,000 subscribers with a list of questions needing input. So let’s say I want to break open the story of a politician’s illegitimate child—I could post a query that looks something like this:

Seeking news on personal life of politicians. (Anonymous)

Reporter is looking for the low and dirty on politicians in the city of Washington D.C. All sourced will remain anonymous.

Ok, I am seriously just kidding about this one, because I hate people exposing others when they aren’t exactly shining angels themselves; nevertheless, I think you get the idea.

The library is also a fabulous place to find info. on just about everything. You have current magazines, books, reference books, etc. all waiting for you to delve into them. The librarians usually love being asked for help, too.

Perhaps you have loads of ideas for articles but you have no idea how to go about getting your writing into magazines. That’s another topic, but basically you find the magazines you’d like to write for (start small), and query the editors with your ideas. Here is some help on how to write those queries:
How to write a query letter.
How to write a successful query.
Writing a bulletproof article query.

Good luck!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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