How does one begin a feature article on Romeo and Juliet's suicide in the film version of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet? Among the things the feature article must discuss are their decisions, decisions of other characters, who is responsible for their deaths, and whether or not their love was real love.

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A feature article is a bit different from a hard news article, although they have their similarities. One advantage of a feature article is that the writer has a great deal more liberty to get creative. You don't need to start your first paragraph with the same who, what, where, when, why that you would for a hard news story. Instead, you can even gradually introduce the story in a way that draws the readers in and engages them. The most important thing to remember about a feature story is that it is a human-interest story about "people, places, and events" (Curtis). You also want to remember that the story must be very thoroughly researched and developed. Feature stories are much longer than hard news stories, so the writer has a great deal of leeway to get as colorful and descriptive as he/she wants to or needs to in order to fully relay the story and the whole point behind the story.

Here is an example of a feature story, though a bit old, on Prince William and Kate's engagement (Lyall, "Diana's Ring"). Notice how in Sarah Lyall's introduction she states the who and the when without getting very specific about the what until the next paragraph? Rather than mentioning the word "engagement" in the first paragraph, Lyall only states that "Tuesday morning...Prince William...said that, yes, he did plan to marry his girlfriend of many years, Kate Middleton" (Lyall). Instead, the word "engagement" appears in the second paragraph; the purpose is to intrigue the readers, entice their curiosity, and draw them into the rest of the story. The rest of the article continues to add more and more details about the engagement and people's impressions of the news.

Similarly, your article will go into great detail, not just about their deaths, but about all of the reasons behind their deaths and who holds whom responsible. A great deal of research must go into a feature story, so you'll want to look closely, not just at the suicide scene in  film, but at the scene in the actual play. Examine the words of the scene. Is it possible Romeo could have made another decision at the moment rather than killing himself? Was he being particularly naive when he noticed how fair she still looked, how her cheeks and lips still looked rosy, as we see in his lines, "Thou art not conquer'd. Beauty's ensign yet / Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks" (V.iii.94-95)? Shouldn't he have realized that she wasn't really dead, which would have saved both of their lives? Was their passion real love or just lust? Who or what is really to blame for their deaths, their stupidity or their families? Is Prince Escalus correct in blaming the families? You'll want to think about the answers to all of these types of questions and address them in your narrative of the story of their deaths.

Similarly to Lyall's article, you can be creative with the introduction. It really only needs to be a couple of lines long; Lyall's is only a sentence long. You'll first want to decide what you think caused their deaths and who is to blame before you can write. But if you decide their naivete and lack of rational thought is partially responsible, consider starting with something like this, "Verona--Last night intense grief settled on all citizens when a tragedy was discovered in the church yard; a tragedy brought on by uncontrolled emotions, naive youth, and a long-standing feud." Then in your next paragraph you would delve deeper into the details of the story, including who, what, and how.

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