I am an incorrigible planner. I plan everything, down to the last detail. Yet when I am writing, I forget my planning ways, and try to write spontaneously. “I’ll be creative today!” I tell myself. “Structure is for construction, not for writing.” Yet inevitably, I run out of steam and give up on my piece. But when I structure my work in advance, such a thing never happens, and both my fiction and non-fiction articles read better, are more interesting, and most importantly, I don’t put it off until another time.
Some popular ways of structuring your writing:
Inverted Pyramid approach: Most commonly used in journalism, this approach quickly gets to the most important information first, describing who, what, when, where and why in the first paragraph. The later paragraphs include less important information, with the background and general information appearing last. The reader is immediately involved, but does not have to read up until the end, if they are short on time. It’s also very easy to edit.
The AIDA approach: This technique is popular with copywriters and is wonderful when you are describing something that requires an action in the end. Within this structure, you first grab the readers ATTENTION, create an INTEREST, inspire DESIRE, and then call for an ACTION. This is wonderful when you want your readers to actually do something at the end of the piece, whether it is to buy a product, get more exercise, or try a recipe, this form really works
The Dramatic approach: Shakespeare did it and so can you! Try structuring your writing into 3 acts, with the first act offering the set-up, the second act creating the conflict, and the third act involving the resolution. Every good novel or short story is structured in this way. It’s pleasant to read, involving an arc of action, and leaves the reader very satisfied
The Essay approach: Most popular in academic writing, this form offers an introduction, moves to the thesis which describes an assumption (for example: the earth is round) goes on to discuss proof points and arguments for an against this assumption, and then goes on to create a conclusion, based on the value of the proof. This is a very logical process and is wonderful when you are arguing your case.
So now, I’ve run out of excuses! Whether I want to write fiction, persuade readers to action, argue my case, or write a news item, I have some actionable structures on hand! So, now I actually have to write J But that’s another blog post!