Commissioned Writing - Creative Writing - Shawon Notes

English Language > Creative Writing > Commissioned Writing


As a writer you are likely to receive a commission - from newspaper articles to screenplays, many written texts are commissioned for a particular reason. Read this advice on commissions and try the tasks to see if you can write to a set brief.

Responding to a set brief

Every professional writer is used to writing to a brief. Whether they are a journalist writing a newspaper article, a screenwriter writing a script or a novelist writing their latest work of fiction, writers don't start before they know their genre, audience, purpose and style (GAPS).

For example, before a journalists starts writing a newspaper article, there are several questions that must be considered:

  • What newspaper are they writing for? Will the readers be interested in their story?
  • Which part of the paper are they writing for? How long does the article need to be?
  • What are this newspaper's readers like? (This helps identify what to style to use - eg formal/informal, simple/more complex language, young/older vocabulary.)

When the journalist knows the answers to these questions, he or she will be able to work out the style and word count. All this information comes in a brief - the instructions that explain what and how to write a particular article when it has been commissioned (when someone rings up and asks a writer to do a piece for them).

The key thing to remember if you are commissioned is that you must stick to the brief. You might write the funniest article ever - but if it's too short or long, or if it's talking to the wrong audience then your piece won't be published.

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