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The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide Paperback – November 29, 1988

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0452261587 ISBN-10: 0452261589 Edition: 0th

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The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide + Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists + Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft
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Editorial Reviews

Covers topic selection story dimensions, organization, and editing
Title: The Art and Craft of Feature Writing
Author: Blundell, William E.
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Publication Date: 1988/11/01
Number of Pages:
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: 88025307

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (November 29, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452261589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452261587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Dane S. Claussen on June 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviewer from Laguna Niguel who says this book is boring apparently has been reading too many textbooks and therefore is only used to reading textbooks. Yes, the examples in this book are out of date, but so what? The full-text examples are still excellent articles after 15 years or so; great writing is always great writing even after it goes from being current events to being history. In 1984, I saw the transcript of Blundell's lectures on feature writing that became the basis for this book, and I still use this book in teaching my feature writing course and my magazine writing course, because nothing else comes close. Among many other accomplishments, this book gives students a SYSTEM for coming up with original story ideas and original story angles that most of them couldn't come up with on their own--in direct contrast to other books that use poetry or other gimmicks to try to make students "feel creative" and then be creative. Rather than being read once or not at all and/or being used only for reference, this is a book that should be read over and over again.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the biggest mistakes young reporters make is viewing reporting and writing as separate exercises, one following the other. Bill Blundell rightly sees them as one process. Good reporting begets good writing. It begins with critical thinking about your subject, which if done properly brings strong focus and organization to your story. In 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor I've not run across a more practical, common sense approach to writing than that offered by the Art & Craft of Feature Writing.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By ••·.·•• RIZZO ••·.·•• VINE VOICE on June 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is a voice in this book, and you can just HEAR this guy as he admonishes writers and drills into their heads the step-by step guide to reporting and writing. The tone is firm with a direct approach to feature writing as the author is adamant that, "reporting and writing can NOT be divorced."

I like the sharp conversational tone; it's like sitting in the classroom. He is very clever with the similes and metaphors to clearly drive his point.

Although this book has made the rounds for years, Blundell offers refreshing ideas and unique insight to writing. He speaks of experience as a Wall Street Journal writer. This is HIS voice, and not a slew of other professional writers churning out a how to book.

I like a quote of his when he tells us that the READER requires specific information and our first priority is to meet that requirement and also that the reader has a deeper and more universal need that has to be met or, he flees. The author said, "nothing is easier than to stop reading."

You won't find the usual writing book addressing topics like these. A sample chapter is Raw Materials - generating ideas; Extrapolation (beyond the event lies a broader, more significant story); Synthesis (assembling promising story ideas from what looks like a junkpile of spare parts); Localization (thinking big); Projection (declining to follow the media sheep to a pasture already overgrazed) and Viewpoint Switching (thinking of a story as a piece of terrain with varying topography).

Also topics titled Shaping Ideas; Story Dimensions, Planning and Execution, Organization, and you get great insight into Handling Key Story Elements that delves into the dreaded leads and endings.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is it, the best book ever written on writing feature articles for newspapers and magazines. I've been writing, editing, and of course reading features for nearly 20 years, and have read many, many books on the subject. This is the one I press on colleagues, friends, even strangers on the street. It works because the damned thing is written by a guy who's done the work at a big-name daily (the Wall St. Journal), not an academic or writer manque. The book smells of the newsroom. It's real. Get it
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Contains a lifetime's worth of information---and inspiration. I've read it twice, and dip into it periodically because it contains so much truth. I was a journalist for ten years, and have read a fair number of how-to-write books, but nothing I've seen is in the same league with Blundell's work. He provides a comprehensive system for organizing material and for sharpening and vivifying a story to a professional level. While it may be true that beyond a certain point good writing cannot be taught, there are definitely techniques to master and mistakes to avoid. Apply Blundell's principles and your writing will almost have to improve.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Shirleen Holt, myprimetime.com on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Blundell understands that a well-written story requires thorough reporting, and this is one of the rare journalism books that gives both equal weight. My advice to daily beat reporters: Don't dismiss the story examples just because they're long. The book's emphasis on focus, clarity and insight can be applied to any piece, even a news brief. The sections on story development (which is really about disciplined thinking) explains how the Wall Street Journal gets those amazing features.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Erik Calonius on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bill Blundell was the writing coach at the Wall Street Journal, and I have to tell you that the two days of instruction I received from him contained the bst advice about writing I've ever had. It was better than an entire year I spent at the Columbia University School of Journalism (which itself wasn't bad). If you marvel at the writing in the Wall Street Journal, and want to emulate it, Blundell's book is the place to start. He's a superb story teller, with a great sense for humanity.
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