Monday, October 29, 2007

Continuing Research and Slants

Once you write about a subject, you never stop learning about it unless you make a conscious effort. This is why I've found it easy to continue writing on some subjects for magazines. New information often seems to seek me out (as happens with CROSLEY), and there are always more research paths leading off those I've explored.

Although most books are not updated, new information is useful in writing magazine articles, and in fact often inspires articles. I've been able to write about Crosley, for example, in a number of special-interest publications because of research I've done since the Crosley biography came out. These include automotive, aviation, and engineering magazines. (Some of these I was writing for before I began writing the book.) For each article I had a different slant, focusing on Crosley airplanes, inventions, whatever was of interest to the magazines in question.

Note that I do not excerpt the book (although CROSLEY was excerpted in Cincinnati Magazine's March, 2007, issue). Simply recycling old information gets boring, which makes one's writing stale. Bringing in new information keeps things interesting, as does emphasizing certain information when you're slanting for an audience. Another subject from which I've gotten a lot of mileage is a replica of a 10th-Century Norman castle near where I live called Chateau Laroche. Chateau Laroche (also known as "the Loveland Castle") is one of those wacky projects that was the life's work of a single individual, a guy who began with a one-room shelter in 1929 and continued building until he had the enormous structure shown above. (It's located in Loveland, Ohio.)

I've sold 27 articles on the Loveland Castle over the years, always with photos, and always slanted for a certain audience. For a general-interest magazine I emphasized the builder's personality. For a home-builder's magazine I talked about the structure's unusual features. And 30 years after I wrote my first article on the castle, new information still turns up, inspiring me to write more articles. A little research now and then--perhaps looking into other one-man castles around the country, or reading about the architecture of the period this castle imitates--suggests slants, too. The same is true when I talk with people who have visited the castle; the reactions of several people to a subject often suggests a new direction or slant.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks


s said...

Michael, thanks!!
Idea Rover 2.01 can help outline-structuring your sources.

Michael A. Banks said...

Thank yoiu for the lead. I'm checking out Idea Rover.