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The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on the Wall Street Journal Guide

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Covers topic selection, story dimensions, organization, and editing.
Paperback, 259 pages
Published November 29th 1988 by Plume Books
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Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Spot" or one-event news, written for print, employs a standard format, usually called "inverted pyramid." (Get the most important who-what-when-where-why-how up front, and as the paragraphs roll on, make the supporting information less and less vital to the reader's understanding of the story.) But feature journalism requires different techniques, and in my opinion this is one of the best guides to approaching it. It has aged remarkably little in the intervening years. Cheers to William Blundel ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. By reading this book over going to J-school, you could save yourself something like $75,000!

Okay, sort of kidding. But I found this book excellent and very satisfying. Something that sets it apart from general 'how to write' manuals is its focus on a specific form, the newspaper feature. (Which form was longer-format back in the '80s when this book was written, you'll notice.) That narrowness of focus allows Blundell to give very detailed advice about structure and organization and t
Dec 05, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Erin by: quoted by Ann Wylie
Shelves: on-writing
"Show them the forest; introduce them to a tree."

— William Blundell, author of The Art and Craft of Feature Writing
Clare O'Beara
This is an okay read with some useful tips, but also not remotely up to date. I can't believe it has not been updated, but since my college bought this 1988 book in 2015, evidently not.
The author enjoys reflecting on the disorganised reporter and how it is stressful to while away a morning and then have a long lunch and then scramble around trying to write something worth turning in to an editor.
Eventually he tells us how to organise the work, stapling six A4 sheets together and writing an outl
Graeme Roberts
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a writer of talent but little note, I found The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on the Wall Street Journal Guide to be extremely useful in improving my craft of telling a real (nonfiction) story in a very compelling way. It was a slow and painful read, not only because it's old now (1988) and the feature stories from the Wall Street Journal, mostly written by William E. Blundell himself, are dated, but also, strangely enough, because the book design is very horrible, with a typeface l ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Blundell provides useful advice on how to start and finish a feature story. While aimed at reporters and magazine writers, much of his advice is practical and applicable to anyone looking to write nonfiction. His method of organizing notes is a little dated and seems haphazard (there are many great software and methods available online to handle this aspect), but his breakdown of how to approach a story is recommended.

Worth re-reading in parts and for the sample articles within.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a really superb guide. Full of good advice. I've worked years to arrive at some of the author's insights. Inspiring. ...more
Eve Tushnet
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The single best book on writing I've ever read. ...more
Emily Warna
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good but a bit overwhelming for beginners.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
(Welp, fuck you very much, Goodreads, for eating my review. Here goes take 2...)

I bought this book because I've felt like I can write well enough when expressing my own opinions (book reviews, record reviews, concert writeups), but I have a lot more trouble working on larger pieces that involve multiple interviews, precise chronology, or narrative tension. As a zine writer, it's easy enough to write an intro, a few thoughts of your own, and then present a transcribed interview, but I have to thi
Joseph McGee
Sep 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book was dry and outdated. It did have some useful material and pointers, but Blundell relied entirely too much on extensive article examples that lacked interesting and dynamic substance.

It was a painful read with minimal reward.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
The best guide to writing compelling newspaper stories published.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Veel bijgeleerd van dit boek. De eerste (en ook laatste keer) dat ik fluostift in een boek gebruikte om de belangrijkste zaken te arceren. Kan niet wachten om de theorie om te zetten in de praktijk.
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: journalism
Is it fair to take out my dislike of this particular class on the assigned textbook? Maybe not, but it's all I have left of my foray into features writing. ...more
Brian Page
Oct 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing is William E. Blumdell’s valiant attempt to create a few thousand rules & suggestions that, when followed, results in a well-told story. He gets credit for the attempt, if not for the execution. This book has something of a reputation as being a holy bible on feature writing. I just don’t see it. It’s a mystery to me. The writing even seems to violate its own precepts. I can’t even recall the last time I abandoned a book only half-read. I mean, I can read St. ...more
Samantha Bravo
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a journalist and love writing feature stories. I’ve been writing for publications for about 5 years, and I come back to this book here and there to get some inspiration. I would highly recommend beginning writers this book.

Think about how you want your story to develop. What kind of impact do you want to leave your readers. How you want it to develop. Think about what is the most important thing you learned from your observations and start with that.

5 stars for top books for writers digest
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I first read this book around 2011, about 5 years into my journalism career and found it quite helpful. It’s a great introduction to the process of straight up feature writing. That being said, after revisiting it in 2018, it’s still good but this book needs a big old update — not solely for the expectations of an online audience, but just to update the way we approach storytelling and reporting. Still, a great primer for greener journalists looking to up their game as well as readers who want a ...more
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb for journalists; not very relevant for financial writers

I picked up this book hoping to draw inspiration for the financial writing that I’m used to. Halfway through, I knew this book is more suited for feature writers - as the name suggests. But I’m super glad I continued till the end because I found the last few chapters (esp. Wordplay) very relevant and useful for any kind of writer. Written in the plainest of English and the most convincing fashion, I would recommend this book to anyon
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! A great mix of practical and conceptual. There's lots of great advice. He excerpts a lot of great writing, and intersperses commentary, so it's like you're reading along with him. This is tremendously helpful, with lots of actionable tips. ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I ended up roughly reading this book. The examples and explanation did not make much sense to my brain as translation.
Tim F. Mensbrugghe
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Iedere reporter die denkt dat hij kan schrijven en dit boek leest, moet concluderen: ik dácht dat ik kon schrijven.
Shane Glass
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: textbook
Blundell rambles on and on. This book could be a lot shorter. That aside, the typography is horrible. There’s not sufficient spacing between the sections, and subsections just blend together. Then sometimes subheadings are centered and become lost in the sea of text. This makes reading very frustrating.
Aug 31, 2014 marked it as to-read
Favorite quote thus far:

"After that Hill dwells lovingly on the heroic incompetence of the San Diego Padres, whose furious owner sizes control of the P.A. system at a game and castigates his butterfingered employees, and the NFL Chargers, entangled at the time in a drug case. Noting the squad's 2-11 record, a sportscaster figures the drug has to be formaldehyde" (p. 7). I'm still laughing.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
A useful book for anyone out there who wants to advance in the world of freelance article writing and not entirely unusable fpr fiction writers of all genres.

Not a particularly easy read though as I found myself easily persuaded to pick up a different book, hence the long time it took me to get through it.
Feb 21, 2010 added it
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing : Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide by William E. Blundell (1988)
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
A little old-fashioned, but I liked the methodical nature Blundell takes on writing. Good tips for organizing and structuring a story.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good book on the principles of good writing. The focus is on newspaper/magazine articles, but the principles can apply to other forms of non-fiction.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
A capable introduction to journalistic feature writing, with good advice for newspaper writers who are just getting into the field.
Jamie Neely
rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2015
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