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August York – Mckendree & Rachel Tucker – Golden Isles Magazine – Noisemakers Feature

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.16.32 AM  Here’s a  “Behind the Scenes” look at my process and a lesson learned when writing a feature article for my bro and sis-in-law’s husband/wife duo; August York (Read the article here on page 78-79)

The article briefly chronicles his stint as an on-the-road musician in the Contemporary Christian Music world. Since the article release, he has taken a new traveling position as keyboard player for Kari Jobe.  For you locals, her “Majestic Tour” is coming to Jacksonville on April 4th –  you can view a list of all tour dates here.

“Oh Brother!” {said in a dreading tone with eyes slightly rolling to back of head} – my exact sentiment while in the throws of writing a music review about my kid brother. When the decision to feature him was made and info was being compiled it seemed so ‘easy peasy’. I mean, c’mon – this is MY brother, his wife and their music. I know them so well – 750 words? Piece of cake.

I have news: it was not a peace of cake, nor was it ‘easy peasy’.  In fact, I had to bring in my husband to finish the thing for me.

Why? I found myself veering into “too personal” territory. I don’t mean sharing incriminating stories (like how he used to snack on dog food – oops!). I kept trying to find a way to let the readers know he was MY brother. My husband and trusty editor called this to my attention, but still I managed to keep a little snippet in the piece, and, if I’m honest I’ll admit the motive was to let the readers know he was MY brother.

Here it is: “As his eldest sister, I must note that when not out playing music he was at home tinkering with recording equipment and musical instruments with an affinity for the late night – the paper thin wall we shared kept no secrets. Never-the-less, I’m thrilled he developed his talent, albeit at the cost of my precious sleep.”

When the magazine came out I found that the little snippet had been edited out by one of the best editors around, one whose judgement I fully trust. I’ve a friend who formerly worked in the national magazine business, we discuss writing and she occasionally serves as an “extra set of eyes” or a confidante to answer the nagging question, “Does it make sense?”. When telling her about my witty-funny sentence that was cut – she said, “brace yourself, I would have cut it too”. She further explained;

“It isn’t that what you wrote wasn’t interesting and pertinent. But, it took you and the reader someplace outside the purpose of the article. Too personal. More fitting for a column rather than a feature.” I agree, this detail was irrelevant to the purpose of the feature.

PRESTO! Once again, with a little bruising of my pride I’ve learned a lesson.

Since writing this article I’ve been questioning my personal motives whether it’s a human interest story, a feature article or copy work.

“What overall message am I trying to convey?”

“What is the ONE thing I want the reader to get from this piece?”

“What is my personal motive in writing this piece?”

Writing a feature article on my brother was simultaneously an honor and a challenge. I’m always up for a challenge if there’s a lesson to be learned.

*Photo courtesy of Victor Huckabee





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  1. I loved your blog about the writing process of the "brother" interview and I have to say that my heart is bursting with pride in your very healthy writers attitude! I am definately a proud mother of you and your willingness to follow the path of a writer! Great Job!

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