Crime articles have become my main niche when writing. I enjoy writing many other articles, but these are not as popular as my true crime pieces. The first thing to say is that I have a passion for crime. I have always been fascinated by the different human psyches and how this impacts life. Staring into the abyss of the worse of humankind.
I am also drawn to research type articles and enjoy the reading and research aspect of the pieces as much as producing the finished product. As a writer, if you enjoy the process and what you are doing, you will get better results. Your enthusiasm and passion comes through in your writing, and the readers subconsciously pick this up.
My process for writing follows a similar pattern in every article that I write. I don’t say template because this is not my process, although other writers have used templates with great success. Whether you write crime or other research-based articles, though, there should be something you can take away from my process.
Ideas are the easiest part for me. I am interested in my subject, so I read a lot of articles and books about it. If you are writing in a niche, it will help if you are interested in the subject matter. Whenever a name comes up or a crime that interests me, I write it down for reading about later. I have folders full of killers and topic headings that are all potential article ideas. I keep this on my phone. You might choose a pen and paper, I have tried this, but it isn’t for me.
In addition to this, I also have a file on my bookmarks full of stories I would like to read later. Again, this is not specifically for article ideas; some stories interest the reader in me. Some will become ideas; others will be a good read.
Researching your initial idea
Once I have gone through my ideas file, I then see which jumps out at me. An idea I have passed over for many months might suddenly be suitable for my mood that day; it happens. So once you have the theme for your article, it is time for research. I start by reading everything I can on my subject. Wikipedia usually is my first website, not because of the quality of the information but the ease of reading. A word of warning with Wikipedia the information contained there is not always reliable. Never use anything from there without fact-checking it completely. However, it does have a list of resources at the end of the article, you can use these for additional reading.
It can not be stressed enough how important the research aspect of article writing is. It would be best if you read a range of sites on the same subject, noting down everything you find. As you go through, ensure that you note the web pages you have used, as these can be hyperlinked into your article to support your findings. Also, note down any exciting quotes you want to use.
Work out your hook
There are millions of articles on the internet about the subject you are writing on. That is why you need to develop an individual point or aspect that no one has come up with before. I call this the hook, the hook to attract readers. During my research, I look at what angle I am going to use for my article. For example, I have started telling crime stories from the perspective of the victim and survivor. Few crime articles deal with the strength a victim has to overcome, and more should.
What is your hook going to be for your readers? If you can’t come up with it, then look at keyword trends and quora questions around your topic. Could these provide you with the hook? Note this down in your research notes; this can inform your writing and headline.
Planning the article
I am what is known as a minimal planner. I don’t particularly appreciate rewriting vast parts of my research into a plan. I am not even sure you could call what I do a plan. Taking my research, I number the points and significant shifts in information; these become a rough structure for producing my article. You might need to work with a more comprehensive plan; planning is very individual,
Other methods you might use is post-it notes with themes on. The advantage of post-it notes is that they are easy to move around. For example, I planned my latest novel by putting post it’s on a board and kept moving them until I was happy with the order. There are also applications that help with planning; again it is a personal choice.
Writing the article
Once all this is done, I then write the article. I download my brain onto the computer. I don’t worry about spelling or grammar. I don’t worry if a passage does not read right or if I can’t find the words I need. I write and don’t stop until all the ideas are down. With this article, I wrote the whole thing in one sitting of half-hour, there will be lots to work on, but the essentials are there.
Once I have downloaded my brain into the computer for the first draft, I then go back for a careful read through. Here I will cut out unnecessary waffle and tighten up my message. I add relevant quotes and research to support my ideas. I will keep doing this process until I am happy with the draft.
I then put the article into Grammarly, I pay the yearly subscription, but the free version is adequate. Once I have looked through their suggestions, I never action all of them as Grammarly has some funny quirks. Finally, I read the post aloud to catch all the last errors and paste it onto my blog.
Once the article is on my blogging platform, I add all the pretty and technical parts. First, I work on the headline for a good ten minutes using an analyser until I am happy with it. Next, I add photos; sometimes one is enough, sometimes others are needed, never more than three. Finally, I format the quotes, headings and other parts of the post.
I look at my SEO and see if I can improve that. One final read through, and I hit publish. Then I start social media marketing, but that is an article all in itself.
Whatever your process, I feel one of the most important aspects of writing articles is that you research the information well and use many contrasting sources to compare. The internet is a place of such information. However, it is worth remembering not all of it will be accurate.
Follow the basic structure of research, find a hook, write multiple drafts until you are happy, grammar check then Concentrate on the aesthetics such as headline, images etc
Whether you write crime, parenting, technology or any other types of articles, you can use this simple formula to create professional, well-researched posts. Essential to all of this is to ensure that you research more than one website and have a varied background knowledge to avoid looking unprofessional quoting work that is not accurate. Write what you enjoy, write your passion, but most of all, pass reliable information onto your readers.