Continued from page 1
Organize so that other points flow from first to end of piece. To put this another way, later points in piece may be more important than earlier ones, but include them where they best fit within flow.
Ideally, one builds from a title to a startling conclusion, all as one steady crescendo, with content increasing in significance and impact. In reality, this is seldom possible. Simply arrange points you want to make in a manner your readers will find sensible.
The Secret To Great Paragraphs
The first line matters, but last one matters more. In making this statement I'm at odds with many writer. But I think in terms of flow. Always. Let first line sustain and enhance interest as possible. Let balance of text make point clearly, but flow into last sentence.
Let last sentence express essence of point, to be carried into rest of piece. When an article is organized in this way, reading task is easier. Only last sentence in each paragraph needs to be remembered to understand what follows.
These aren't rules. If you look at what is written above, you'll see I did not follow this pattern in all cases. At times it just doesn't work well. Still, accent meaning of paragraph in last sentence as possible.
The Last Sentence And Transition
The last sentence must also flow as nicely as possible into next paragraph. This encourages reader to continue and makes for an easier read.
Note paragraph above that begins with, "These aren't rules." This is a distinct break from prior paragraph. And this is often needed. In this case, similar but related points are made. While ideas flow from paragraphs above, they do not flow from them directly.
Subheadings To The Rescue
Whenever flow can not be evenly sustained, use a subheading as above. This creates a distinct break from thinking in previous section, and begins a new one. Sure, content under subheading needs to be appropriate. But it may be quite different than content in previous section.
In a more formal piece, I might have used, "Use Subheadings When It Is Necessary To Break The Flow." My style is to punch up subheadings as possible. The one I chose above says nothing to those scanning this piece, and is thus not best choice. But it fits with what is being said.
Wrapping With Snap
At very least, wrap an article on a positive, upbeat note. Leave your reader nodding his or her head in acceptance. Or with a grunt of surprise. Or a chuckle, maybe. I'm really done with this piece here, but I'll take a shot at a wrap.
Grab your reader by nose with your title and first sentence. Grab real hard. And don't let go of that nose until they've read very last sentence. This is your task as a writer. Do this right, and your readers will never know what an awful thing you have done to them. They will simply say, "Thanks."
Bob McElwain, author of "Your Path To Success." How to build ANY business you want, just the way you want it, with only pocket money. Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! mailto:email@example.com