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Writing for Magazines and Trade Publications

Course Code: PRFU 2401
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Print Futures
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Tutorial
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course develops the skills necessary to write for magazines and industry-specific trade publications, and focuses specifically on writing feature articles. Students will obtain practical experience in analyzing publications, developing story ideas, submitting queries, interviewing and researching, and writing various types of articles. The course also prepares students with strategies for working as a freelance writer.

Course Content

  1. Analyze Genres
    The student will:
    • distinguish types of magazines and journals
    • distinguish types of writing: profiles, service pieces, issue articles, personal experience features, cultural reviews, short features, long features
  2. Research Potential Markets
    The student will:
    • research the market for specific topics of potential interest to a specific editor
    • review periodicals for editorial bias and style
    • investigate and examine online magazines
    • develop editorial profile
  3. Develop Text as Product
    The student will:
    • research audience-specific and genre-specific material
    • learn and apply interviewing techniques used in writing feature articles
    • produce outlines for various articles
    • write
      • short profile (approximately 500 words)
      • short feature (800-1200 words)
      • long feature (2000 - 2500 words)
  4. Work to Schedule and Deadlines
    The student will:
    • develop timelines and action plans to meet objectives
    • develop prioritizing skills to meet deadlines
    • utilize problem-solving strategies to meet objectives
    • utilize skills necessary to maintain scheduling deadlines
  5. Evaluate Product
    The student will:
    • develop specific client-centred revision and editing strategies
    • work collaboratively with other students to refine the written product
    • provide editorial response to other students’ products
  6. Market the Product
    The student will:
    • produce general and specific query letters
    • develop text for specific editorial markets
    • utilize follow-up strategies
      The student may also pursue professional publication of writing produced in this course.
  7. Freelance Writing
    The student will:
    • learn business and survival strategies for successful freelance writing
    • develop an understanding of how writers and editors work together
    • learn to use the terminology of the magazine publishing industry
    • investigate aspects of online publishing possibilities

Methods of Instruction

The course will be conducted in a workshop format in order to facilitate student evaluation of manuscripts.  There will also be professional guest speakers invited, as well as some field activities.

Means of Assessment

Evaluations will be based on this general outline:

Magazine analysis 5%
In-Class Participation 20%
Query and Outline 10%
Profile 15%
Short Feature 20%
Long Feature 30%
  100%

Learning Outcomes

Students will develop the skills required for freelance and in-house writing for magazines and industry-specific trade publications, along with an awareness of related responsibilities.  This will be accomplished by studying relevant examples and background information; developing various writing assignments, from idea to completion; and participating in in-class workshop discussions.

course prerequisites

Acceptance into program or permission of the
coordinator

Acceptance into program or permission of the coordinator

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.

assessments

If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.