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.