Here are four mistakes to avoid in journalism and human interest:
I. TOO LONG – the Interview. The editor of The Times sent me off on my very first article. With high heels clicking and briefcase swinging, I knocked on the door of a soon-to-be-100-year-old. I settled myself in her antique rocker and began firing questions. After I’d filled two pages of notes, the centenarian nodded and fell sound asleep. I snuck out of her apartment with a half-written story and vowed to keep my interviews shorter.
The Short of it: Interviews should be 10 minutes for musicians and 20 minutes for everyone else. Do your research ahead of time. You’ll have a satchel full of pertinent questions to ask. The rest you can get from their website, or call them back later.
Nonfiction has unique challenges with middles. A reader may notice that the body of the piece flops around in too many directions rather than delivering a muscled middle. This divergence should be addressed at the very beginning of every opinion piece by developing a focused thesis.