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FEATURE

WRITING

A feature story differs from a straight


news story in one respect its intent.
A news story provides information
about an event, idea or situation.
The feature does a bit more it may
also interpret news, add depth and
color to a story, instruct or entertain.

Types of Feature Stories


News feature

Human Interest Story


Descriptive feature
Personality profile
Personal experience
Narrative feature
Informative feature
How-to feature
Analysis feature
Review feature

Structure of a Feature Story:

The introduction/lead is the most important


part - entice your reader, hook them in.
Use drama, emotion, quotations, questions,
descriptions.
The body of the article needs to keep any
promises or answer any questions raised in
the introduction - try and maintain an
"atmosphere" throughout the writing.
While the introduction draws the reader in, the
conclusion should be written to help the
reader remember the story - use a strong punch
line.

Feature Lead Strategies


Functions of the Feature Lead:
1. To attract or draw the reader into the feature
story
2. To set the tone for the feature story so the
reader may know what to expect ahead.

Summary lead
Since its discovery in 1979, AIDS (Acquired Immunity
Deficiency syndrome) has become one of the fastest
killers of the 20th Century. Like ancient leprosy, AIDS
appears to be the most dreaded ailment of our time.

On the night of August 14, 1981, a Friday at about 9 oclock,


Oscar Boyonas, a long-time employee of Senator and Mrs.
Doy Laurel, heard a crashing sound. He ran out to
investigate and found out that the freshly-cemented fence
around the Laurel residence on Shaw Boulevard,
Mandaluyong, had crumbled. Oscar saw a man, bathed in
blood, beneath the rubble. He wiped the blood from the
mans face and he was shocked to discover that it was
Kristipi, youngest son of the Laurels. When Oscar lifted
Kristipis body, Kristipis shoe fell and in it was his severed
foot.
Will Kristipi Ever Smile Again?
by Ricky Lo
Star Studded

Narrative lead
I met Mother Teresa of the Missionaries of Charities
(MC) for the first time when Lola came to Manila to
give her blessings to my aunt, Evelyn Yap, who was
joining the congregation. Lola and I were introduced by
my aunt to her. Mother Teresa had that presence and
charisma which awed Lola and me. Though I had
managed to kiss her hand in respect and to mutter,
How are you, Mother?, I was fidgeting in my place
because of the way she looked at me. Her eyes seemed
to penetrate my whole being as if she could see my soul.
Life Among the Poorest of the Poor
by Gilbert Y. Tan
MOD Magazine
November 24, 1978 issue

Descriptive lead
You can describe a lady Dolefilite in many ways. She
can be the lady in casual t-shirt and slacks, white cap
and rubber shoes, neatly tucked hair and a pineapplysweet smile. She can be the suntanned lady in
ridiculously-funny goggles, wearing three sets of
blouses and pants and in her hand, a sun-ripened
pineapple fruit. She can be one whose face is slightly
brushed with rouge, wearing RTW coordinates, and a
master of the keyboard. Yes, she can be any lady
employed here in Dolefil.
Woman Power in Dolefil
by Gilbert Y. Tan
Dolefil Tambuli
3rd Quarter 1978 issue

Lemlunay. It means paradise, promised land. The golden age of


the past, the golden age of the future. Camelot. Here, on one
special day before sunrise, so it is believed the ancient hero
Tudbolul appears to the Tboli people. And so the lunay sebung,
the torch-bearing Tbolis, must journey from their mountain
homes before the crack of dawn for their rendezvous with the
ancient hero. From afar, the procession is an awesome sight.
Thousands of torches merge into threads of light flowing down
the mountains. As the people approach the valley where the
gathering is to take place, the air vibrates with a medley of gongs
and strings and chants. The women descend to the tinkling of a
million hawkbells quivering on their bodies. The valley slowly
swells with life and light. After a while the tree of life is set afire.
The Tboli in search of Lemlunay
by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Journalist in Her Country

Quotation lead
Idioms are a colorful and delightful part of the English
language. Anglo-American author Logan Smith described
idioms in a delectable manner: Idioms are like little
sparks of life and energy in our speech, they are like those
substances called vitamins which make our food
nourishing and wholesome; diction deprived of idioms
soon becomes tasteless, dull, and insipid.

Please Pass the Idioms


by Gilbert Y. Tan
MOD Magazine
March 6, 1981 issue

Reporters, I am scared of them. They expect me to know who


they are, and to greet them. If I dont, they start hitting me.
They make it a guessing game; you have to correctly guess they
are reporters. But me, those I know, I greet; those I dont know,
I dont greet.
As simple as that.
Fernando Poe Jr. or Ronnie Poe or, better still, FPJ as hes more
widely and fondly known, said that in 1968 in an interview with
Nick Joaquin (a.k.a. Quijano de Manila) after FPJ won his very
first FAMAS Best Actor award for his role as a priest who tamed
the slums in Mga Alabok sa Lupa.
A Close Encounter with FPJ
by Ricky Lo
Star Studded

Epigram lead
Dolefil seems to be one of the most unexpected places
where, according to a song, love comes from. Who
would expect that East and West would meet in Dolefil?
Definitely not the person who wrote east is east and
west is west and never the twain shall meet for he must
be turning in his grave now for the second time around.
Here in Dolefil, his words were proven untrue twice (the
first time by Rosemarie and Larry, Dolefil Tambuli
1976 issue).
East Meets West
by Gilbert Y. Tan
Dolefil Tambuli
1st Quarter 1978 issue

Oh, Lord, help me this day to keep my big mouth shut.


Inday Badiday (a.k.a. Ate Luds) doesnt remember now
who gave her the tableau containing that little prayer
(Ewan ko kung kaaway o kaibigan ko) but thats beside the
point. The tableau stands on her headboard and its the first
thing Inday sees when she wakes up every morning. Sa
totoo lang, Inday has been trying, during the past many
years, to observe that prayer to no avail.
The Intriguing World of Inday Badiday
by Ricky Lo
Star Studded

Question lead
Saan ka ba takot?
Takot ka ba sa dilim? Sa
masisikip na lugar? Sa daga? Sa Ipis? Saan ka ba
takot?
Do you spend a good deal of time fretting about your
looks, wishing you could swap faces with some very
handsome person you admire? If you do, stop pitying
yourself and start pitying the handsome people you
envy. They are the ones who are apt to to be hurt in
life by their looks.
Be Glad Youre not Beautiful
by James F. Bender
Readers Digest Bedside Reader

Direct Address lead


Sa buhay mo, marami ka ng naranasan. Mga
karanasan na ginusto mo o hindi ginusto. Sa mga
karanasang ito, natanong mo ang iyong sarili kung ang
Panginoon ba ay natutulog o hindi.

Janus-faced/Contrast lead
1980 was the Year of the Monkey according to Chinese astrology. It ushered
in the decade of the 80s. In retrospect, it was a year of reckoning with the
times that the mischievous monkey had wrought with its bagful of tricks. It
was a year punctuated by the severity of the terrorist movement worldwide,
the continuing energy crisis, and the resulting discoveries of other energy
sources, the Iran-Iraq war and Reagans triumph over Carter. 1981 is the
Year of the Rooster or Cock (people though prefer the use the former for
obvious reasons). If we are to believe the predictions for the Year of the
Rooster, we are to face a hard year. 1981 happens to be one of those less
promising years. We will have to work hard and sweat profusely to eke out a
living. The risk of unemployment is like Damocles sword above our heads.
This will be a year of various sidelines or moonlightings for most of us. The
year also indicates harsher treatment for lawbreakers and other offenders.
1981:The Year of the Crowing Rooster
by Gilbert Y. Tan
MOD Magazine
January 2, 1981 issue

Sequence lead
Amalia Fuentes was on the 15th floor shooting a
movie when an earthquake struck and the building
began swaying. As everybody stood stiff, Amalia darted
for shelter under a table and, just as quickly, moved
out of it and ran towards the elevator and stood beside
it. Later on, somebody asked her why she did that. It
would be very unglamorous to die under the table, she
answered.
Amalia Fuentes, A Woman for All Seasons

by Ricky Lo
Star Studded

She walked up the stage, this slip of a girl, to read her fathers
message. In front of the podium she stood, almost unnoticed
until her voice boomed through the microphone. The voice
sounded like that of a middle-aged matron a waterfall coursing
through gravel and sand, big, loud, confident and commanding.
A hush filled the hall. The audience listened to the voice, hardly
believing that it came from that diminutive figure on stage, who,
in a white frock, looked like a high school graduate. Tiny, though
she may be, Gloria Macapagal of the incongruously powerful
voice thinks big and talks a lot of sense. She tackles economic
issues as a cook relishes talking about special recipes.
Gloria Macapagal Comes into Her Own
by Marra Pl. Lanot
Dream Sketches

Staccato/Suspense lead
This man has killed literally thousands. Hes about 52
tall, bemoustached, and has a stocky built. Hes
reportedly seen in the premises of the Paint Shop with
hands bloodstained by the wounds sustained by his
latest victim. He answers to the name Cipriano
Cipring Ruta.
But dont panic and let your hairs stand on their ends
if you meet him in person especially if he is
brandishing a knife with a very sharp blade. He may
look gentle and amiable but mind you, hes dead
serious about using that knife to stab . . . You? No, of
course not! Who do you think he is? Jack the Ripper?
A mad killer? Again, Of course not!

Hes simply called Cipring and he works with the NonPine Operations. And he wants to show you his dexterity
in slaughtering the pigs, cows and fowls and cutting
them up later.

Cipring, the Gentle Killer


by Gilbert Y. Tan

Dolefil Tambuli
3rd Quarter 1978 issue

Pedaling home. Angry. Feelings hurt. A car coming next to


him, moving slowly, keeping pace with him. A woman in
the front passenger seat rolling down her window, asking
for directions. Telling her. The woman not seeming to
listen. The car stopping. Braking his bike. The woman
jumping out of the car, grabbing him. The man unlocking
the trunk, throwing him in. The trunk lid banging shut.
Darkness. Screaming. Pounding. Not enough air. Passing
out.
Long Lost (Novel)
David Morrell

Combination Leads
October 23, 1993. Early dawn. New Diamond Lodge,
Davao City.
Thirty two students lay asleep. Tired from a six-day
field trip to key cities in Northern Mindanao. Perhaps
dreaming of going home for a weeks vacation before a
new semester begins. Then suddenly . . .
FLAMES! Spreading across the newly-painted ceiling
and walls. The sleepers felt the heat, some started to
choke. Others awoke to open the hot locks on the doors
and found the hallway clouded by heavy smoke.
Creeping on the waxed wooden floor that started to
sizzle, they groped their way to a locked main gate.

Intermittent knocks on doors to rouse the lodgers.


Names shouted above the din of panic and the bellows of
fire. Sounds of jalousie window panes being broken and
window screens being ripped open. Muted cries for help.
Some jumped out of the ledge, hurtled down two storeys
of space into strange hands and arms. Others braved
running through the scorching fire in search of the exit.
A number found a nearby electric post and shimmied
down its length. Out in the open air, some writhed in
pain from the sprains and fractures after their perilous
jumps. They searched for familiar faces in a sea of
firemen, policemen, rescuers, mobile cars, ambulances
and fire trucks. Finding three of them missing from
among themselves, they hardly noticed that their
reddened eyes welled with tears, not only due to the
smoke and heat, but more so from grief.

The three students who didnt make it through the fire were
Delia Fernandez, Josephine Gacuya and Cherryl Leilani
Goce.
The fire lasted only for 45 minutes, but it would be forever
seared into the collective memory of the 29 survivors and
the rest of the entourage. It proved to be the anticlimax to
six days of learning, camaraderie and fun.

Fate seemed to have a hand in this event. The trip was rife
with portents. On the way back, one bus tire became flat
twice and Josephines seat was right over it. The entourage
was stranded in Bukidnon due to heavy rains two nights
before the fire. They did not want to risk traveling on
muddy and slippery roads. Air, water, earth and fire four
elements converging inevitably towards a tragedy.

MOTIFS
Once upon a time there was a little girl who seemed to have
been born under a very unlucky star. She was born small and
weak, a sickly baby. Again and again she would shake with
convulsions and fix her eyes in a dying stare. One night, soon
after she was born, she fell so ill, burning with fevers and shaky
with chills, that her mother rushed her to church and had her
baptized in a hurry, late in the night.

My baby wont live, cried the poor mother.


The baby was christened Nora.
Golden Guy
by Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin)
Nora Aunor and Other Profiles

It must be tough and terrible, thrilling and titillating and


even downright terrifying! turning one-and-twenty, said
to be the age of reason and the threshold of great
possibilities. How exciting! How frightening!
Kris Aquino is turning 21 today. Shes a Valentine Girl, no
wonder she describes herself as love-ful.

Kris Aquino Turning One-and-Twenty


by Ricky Lo
Star Studded

listen to the warm


im pretending
But im at peace.

It took two suicide attempts to make Chanda Romero realize


how much she really wanted to live.
Suicide is cowardice, she says now. Life is the greater
challenge.She used to see less clearly. Both hours of
darkness brought about by love affairs that crushed her
heart as they crumbled. The first time, she was too young to
be strong; the second, she was too strong to be stopped. She
has softened considerable since.
Chanda Romero
by Emmie Velarde
All-Star Cast

December 1999. With the Y2K scare and the end-of the-millennium
jitters hovering in the air, I found myself in a bookstore for some last-minute
Christmas shopping. I was looking for the abridged versions of the classics Heidi
and The Secret Garden to give to my nieces when I saw a vaguely-familiar title
in the shelves: The Lady or The Tiger and Other Stories. As I traced the
embossed title with my right index finger, a particular memory flooded my
consciousness.
1970. Our sophomore English class of forty boys was quiet as our
teacher, Mr. Roger Rebucan, read aloud Frank Stocktons short story The Lady or
The Tiger? in a voice with a slight tinge of Hiligaynon accent. Our yet-to-beraging hormones and our boyishness were piqued by the intriguing title which
promised romance and adventure. We were not disappointed by the tale which
unraveled before us a love affair between a young man and his sweetheart
whose father, the semi-barbaric king, wanted to end. The king sentences the guy
to choose between two doors. One leads to a beautiful woman; the other, to a
hungry tiger. With bated breaths, we struggled with the protagonist as he wracked
his brain as to which door to open. If he opened the door to the beautiful woman,
he would be forced to marry her. Opening the other door would mean his instant
death. We heaved a collective sigh when Mr. Rebucan read the part where the
princess signaled to the guy by moving her hand to the right but were abruptly
shocked to hear the storys final sentence: And so I leave it with all of you:
which came out of the opened door the lady or the tiger?

Endings
Then somebody tapped my shoulder. It was the mother
the child. She was so thankful and grateful to me. She
said I was a great help to her. What she never knew was
that it was she, her baby, them the poor who had given
me help. They brought light to my eyes which were
partially blinded by the vanities of life. They had
deflated the balloon that carried me high up where only
illusions existed, thus brought me back to reality. I
whispered a prayer of gratitude to God for giving me
such a wonderful experience.
Life Among the Poorest of the Poor
by Gilbert Y. Tan
MOD Magazine
November 24, 1978 issue

1981 surely is a lucky year to Roosters as long as they


work hard and love much. Roosters have one beautiful
virtue that nobody has: HOPE. It is hope that makes the
rooster crow every morning as it expects for a better day
to come along for us all.

1981:The Year of the Crowing Rooster


by Gilbert Y. Tan

MOD Magazine
January 2, 1981 issue

December 1999. It has been 29 years since I last heard/read Stocktons 120-year-old
story. My pulse raced as I discovered from the books back cover blurb that the story
has a sequel The Discourager of Hesitancy. That clinched it! This book would be
the perfect gift for Mr. Rebucan. I was sure, he, too, would be as interested as I was to
know how the story ended. I bought two copies and sent one to him with a short note
that I hope one day we could meet and debate on the two short stories.
As I reread the story that night, I reflected on the motivations (mine and others) that led
to choices impacting my life, career and relationships. I realized that at the high and
low points in my life, some people acted as the semi-barbaric king who forced me to
make hard decisions while others, like the princess, led me to ladies and tigers as
consequences of my decisions after considering their advices and maneuverings.
Whatever their motives, I thank them all because through them, I have learned to
accept responsibility for my own decisions in life. As Frank Stockton aptly said in reply
to the countless questions he got about the storys ending: If you decide which it was
the lady or the tiger you find out what kind of person you are yourself.

The Lady or The Tiger? : Facing Life's Choices


by Gilbert Y. Tan
Philippine Star
June 5, 2005 issue