Last week, I wrote a post about the sources I used for an article about Manhasset Bay I wrote for the luxury yachting magazine, Longitude. It seemed that readers liked seeing what goes into writing a feature, so I’ve decided to share this kind of information more regularly.
I’ve just completed a 1,500 word feature about the eastern end of Long Island for Aer Lingus’ in-flight magazine, Cara, and I even surprised myself after I took a second look at all the sources I consulted for information and fact-checking. Here they are (and I’m sure I’ve missed some, too):
Hampton Star Map:
If you know anything about me, you’ll know I’m not much of a star-gazer– as in celebrities– so I had to do a bit of background research to satisfy one of the required elements of the story, which was a mention of some of the celebrities who have homes in the Hamptons. And since there are lots of people who are much more into celebrities and stardom than I, The Hampton Star Map got a special mention in a sidebar about resources readers of Cara can access before their trip.
Celebrity Homes in the Hamptons:
As above. I spent far more time on this website than I’d like to admit, mainly because I was intrigued that anyone would even have a website like this.
Wolffer Estate Vineyard’s website:
I visited this vineyard/winery and wanted to recheck some basic facts I’d written down while I was there.
5 different maps of the Hamptons and Long Island:
The inn where I stayed gave me two excellent maps, and those were most important when rechecking street names and whether Sag Harbor was northwest of East Hampton, but I checked some other maps as well.
The Huntting Inn’s website:
This was the inn where I stayed while I was in the Hamptons, and I wanted to reread the inn’s history, which I’d read (but not copied) in its in-room guest book. Since that history wasn’t available online, I had to phone the inn and request that they scan and send me a copy.
A call to The Huntting Inn to request the history page from their guest book:
As above; they sent the requested page via email.
Hampton Jitney website:
Times, routes, average length of trip, and pick-up/drop-off spots near JFK and in Long Island were all facts I needed to confirm, checking these details against a copy of a Hampton Jitney brochure I picked up in Long Island.
Background research about East Hampton’s windmills:
It’s funny how a detail that’s ultimately relatively minor in an article can take up so much time while writing (that’s probably due to my own process; I can fall down the research rabbit hole very easily). I consulted at least three sources to confirm some facts about East Hampton’s windmills, among them:
Edible East End:
I was searching for the address of a local farmers’ market in the hard copy of this magazine.
Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center website, plus brochures and printed information from the Pollock-Krasner House:
I wanted to confirm dates and details about the artists, their house, and upcoming events scheduled for the centennial of Pollock’s birth.
A Jackson Pollock biography
Bio of Carolyn Lanchner, a Pollock biographer:
Though I ended up not using her title in the article, I wanted to confirm Lanchner’s bona fides (at one time she was a curator at MoMa).
Sag Harbor: An American Beauty:
The introduction to this book, written by the late Wilfrid Sheed, was exceptional for its precise, evocative descriptions, and I used some of his words (attributed, of course) to help frame the introduction and conclusion of the article.
Montauk Point Lighthouse Website:
Confirming summer hours and some points of historical facts.
New York State Parks website:
Confirming information about Camp Hero State Park.
This book is a lightning rod in the controversial conspiracy theories about the decommissioned Air Force base in Montauk.
Various hotel, restaurant, and attraction websites, as well as review sites like TripAdvisor:
These were visited to confirm information, addresses, and phone numbers, as well to get impressions about properties from other people who have stayed there.
Have more process-related questions about writing feature articles? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.