Tips for Writing a Profile

January 27, 2015

You’ve discovered an interesting person you want to write about. You’ve prepared your interview questions and conducted the interview. You’ve connected with others who know the person and now you are ready to pull all your research together into the written article. Here are a few tips to help you.

  1. Figure out where to start. It could be something you noticed about the person’s appearance. It could be something you noticed in the person’s surroundings. Whatever it is, make sure it establishes the person as a human being and is compelling enough to make your reader want to keep reading.
  2. Become the reader’s eyes and ears. As trite as “Show, Don’t Tell,” is, it’s some of the best advice you’ll get as a writer. If you don’t show your reader the person’s expression, surroundings, habits, body language, etc., your reader can’t know about those things and how they relate to the person you’re writing about.
  3. Put the person’s life in perspective. Decide what about that person will interest your reader. Then decide where in that person’s life to start the story. Not every story requires a full background disclosure. In fact, most don’t. Focus on answering the question, “Why should the reader care?” and your reader will thank you.
  4. Fill in the gaps. Too often writers know what they want to say and think they’ve said it, but they’ve left holes in the story. Ask yourself why the person you’re writing about did that or went there or stopped doing this or started doing that. Have people you trust give you honest feedback after reading your profile. Ask them to let you know what’s missing or what questions they still want answered.
  5. Avoid using too many direct quotes. It’s okay to quote the person you’re profiling, but too many direct quotes can take away from the story.
  6. Make sure your profile is accurate. What else is there to say about that?

Finding and writing about interesting people can be some of the most fun you’ll have as a writer. These tips can help. Happy writing!