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If I haven’t seen 1-21, will I follow 22?

There’s a movie opening this weekend, maybe you’ve heard of it, or maybe you’ve heard of the first 21 movies that led up to this one. 

For more than a decade, movie goers have been following the Marvel Universe characters through their individual adventures.  These films have introduced the background and special skill of each hero leading up to this final combined battle.

Personally, I never read many comic books as a kid (or adult) and I will confess I’ve never seen any of the movies in this saga, even the one (1) nominated for Best Picture last year.  However, it struck me as I read about the first 21 movies how much they reminded me of an important part of article writing for trade, industry, and association publications. 

Like each previous movie can be viewed independently, writing a series of articles works, and works well, if each one can stand on its own.  You want to give editors the option of running the series, or running individual articles as they see fit for their readership. 

An editor may decide that article 1 is good, they like article 2, and begin to run the series.  Then you could consider yourself a regular columnist!  Or, an editor may like article 1, but decide article 2 isn’t right for their industry right now, but they like 3 and 4 and so on.   Of course, an editor may like article 3, run it, get a good reaction, then decide to go back and run articles 1 and 2.  The point is, you want to optimize the articles for placement at the editors’ discretion. 

The same is true for characters in a series of articles.  You may introduce Barbara, a SVP of Sales in a mid-west manufacturing company in article 1, and carry her adventures into articles 2, 3, or 4, but still make sure each piece of advice Barbara gives stands on its own for the readers advantage.

So, if you’re so inclined, step away from the keyboard this weekend and go see a movie.  I hear some cineplexes are staying open 24-hours for opening weekend.  That’s 96 consecutive hours of opportunities to see the movie.  The first 21 movies combined are 59 hours, leaving you 37 hours to catch the last(?) one! 

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