Sunday, April 13, 2008

WORD: Profilic Things to Think About

by Gabrielle Linnell

DISCLAIMER: I have yet to write one of these things so I can't pretend to be an expert. As always, however, I have an opinion AND observations to share.

Profiles are articles written to showcase a specific person or organization, usually with a slant. For example, Teen Vogue does a monthly feature on a girl performing some sort of activism: sending cell phones to soldiers or books to Chinese children, etc. Profiles are fun to read and therefore popular with most magazines.

As a WriTeen, your motto is to always approach a piece with my teenagerness in mind. (There has got to be a better way to say that.) There are several ways to do this.

1. Do the profile-essay hybrid. Write about Bill Clinton. Okay, there are thousands of articles and books written about the ex-prez, but how many of them are by teenagers? Write about what is was like growing up (as a child) while he was in power: from the economic decisions he made to the Lewinsky scandal. Tie it into the Hillary campaign and Definitely, Maybe: you're set for a fantastic general news magazine piece, or an essay for the "Opinion" section of the newspaper.

2. Write a profile for a teenzine. Pick the professor of biological engineering that's a great friend of your parents' and write a profile for Girl's Life. Sound bizarre? Focus the profile on the lack of women in the engineering field, opportunities for teenage girls to get involved in engineering, and ways that engineering and teen life intersect. This sounds a lot more interesting than a straight article about the professor's Ph.Ds.

3. Keep it personal. I think of myself as the best possible source for anything, from articles to short stories. The more personal the article, the better it is. If you're not writing a full-on profile, try tying yourself into it somehow. If that's inappropriate, write a freelance article with "mini-profiles" on your sources. People are interested in other people (thus the magazine People). People articles will sell.

Gabrielle Linnell loves fashion (amateurly), football (GO EAGLES) and writing (so fantastic I need a blog to express my love.)

NOTE: I totally forgot to feature Ned Vizzini in our WriTeen Celebs WORD. He'll grab the spotlight later this week.

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