I started writing a few film making articles here and there, now exclusively hosted on filmmaker IQ; and I wanted to talk a little bit about writing non-fiction.
Part of it is a whole lot easier - there's only development of one character (me, sorta) and I don't have to pull a plot out of thin air, which is a lot of mental exersize easier.
Yet there still has to be a clear thread from point a to point b - an article with no path makes no sense. What I basically do, is pick a topic and figure out how to attack the subject from there. I write how-to's, so they tend to be a low budget idea from concept through execution.
Not to say that its one article on the entire art of making a film - that would be a book. So part of it is figuring out how to keep these articles a 'friendly' size for the web. Tone is also important.
Were I writing for a print outlet, I'm sure my writing style would be more formal, maybe a touch more complex. I'm writing these primarily for new filmmakers, who tend to be younger, and a web audience - so I want to keep things simple, interesting, and moving fast.
I'm also trying to build a 'character' of them. Gimmicky? Probably. But it helps me figure out the tone that I want for these, plus building a web presence of this particular person - who, while also me, can be built up in the head of a reader as someone in particular, while maintaining my personal privacy.
I've a new one coming up, so let me know how I'm doing.