In the last blog post, I’ve guided you through steps to brainstorm a good article idea, including adding a perspective in your writing.
But what is a perspective anyway?
According to this article by NY Book Editors, a perspective is “how the characters view and process what’s happening within the story”.
They also showed how the two terms, perspective and point of view, are compared with each other: While point of view focuses on the type of narrator used to tell the story (first person, second person, or third person), perspective focuses on how this narrator perceives what’s happening within the story.
I actually have nothing to add here since they made it crystal clear with the top-notch definition.
But then I’ll tell you something I personally don’t think anybody, especially magazine writers, would like to share:
A perspective is the thing that can guarantee your articles will be accepted and sold immediately.
Let say you’re going to write an article about the divorce and its consequences. These are some perspectives you can think about:
- The husband has found a younger woman who he loves and would like to divorce to marry her. He thinks she suits him best.
- The wife is of course upset and thinks he is a jerk to leave her and the kids to chase a younger woman.
- The wife’s best friends also think he’s a jerk and doesn’t deserve her love for him. The new couple will end up in another divorce.
- However, the kids may think their father has made a good decision since he was not happy living with their mother at all. She is demanding and careless, and she always looks down on him since she earns money than him. They feel happy for their father as he now can live happily with the right person.
As you can see, different people involved in the story will have different perspectives, reflecting their own worlds. A story can therefore be written differently, depending on who is going to tell it.
It’s NOT only about who is going to tell/write and how it will change the whole picture. It’s more of who will read the story.
Remember: You’re writing for the target audience of the magazine, not for yourself. It means, you have to choose the right perspective that will appeal most to that group.
Imagine you’re writing about the same subject for a women magazine whose target group falls into married women with at least one kid. Dare you take the perspective of the younger woman and write for this group?
The proper options in this case will be either the wife’s, the husband’s, or the kids’ perspective.
A good perspective in writing should also help to make the article clear within the first 1 – 3 sentences without making the readers question again what they’re going to read about.
With that in mind, I’ll reveal another secret:
The more perspectives you can come up with (from one single theme/subject), the more articles you can sell, and the more you will earn as a magazine writer!
Women and men, people from different backgrounds and in different age groups will see things differently. So, here are some more examples for you 🙂
General subject: Vegan food
- People opted for vegan food because of their religion
- People opted for vegan food because of their health situation
- Vegan food can help reduce some health problems (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)
- Vegan food vs. climate changing
General subject: Travel guide to London
- Experience London like a local
- Best place to eat in London
- Instagram-able restaurants/cafes/shops in West London
- The ultimate guide to survive the London underground
- Day trips from London
General subject: Career path
- How to know if you’re stuck in your current job
- Changing your career path in the 30s, is it possible?
- What is the hottest jobs in the marketing during the pandemic?
- Have you found your Ikigai?
And the list goes on and on… But anyway you can see, each aforementioned sentence will represent a perspective you can write about.
Or at least, choose the one that you’re more comfortable with, the one you can write easily and enthusiastically about. That will work.
How to find the right perspective in writing
Actually, I don’t think there is anything called the right perspective, but rather the suitable perspective.
As aforementioned, you can write about the divorce in different angles, reflecting people involved in it. But you should not (well, you cannot) choose the new woman’s perspective to pitch for a Christian magazine about love and marriage. I mean, are you serious?
Also, everything need some practicing before you can master it. The more you write, the more you’ll know what to choose when, to whom.
One last tips that maybe useful for you to practise:
- Choose three subjects you think you’d like to write for a magazine. They can be anything, travel, relationship, career, nutrition, self-help, etc.
- Choose which magazines/newspaper you would like to write for.
- For each subject, list down at least 3 different perspectives that you think may work.
- Try to match them with the chosen magazines/newspaper. Do they fit? Does it make any sense to have this perspective for this magazine?