As I prepare to develop pieces for the next couple of months, occasionally I’d catch myself drifting and not adding notes to anything. Then I thought back to what I did the last time I felt stuck: pick a couple of written pieces from writers (or publications) I follow, and build a piece based on how they structure their work.
Instead of asking myself: ‘What would Malcolm Gladwell write?’ I changed it to: ‘How does Malcolm Gladwell structure his pieces?’
That revelation led me to use that question whenever I felt like a piece wasn’t “there” yet. Usually I’d find the issue would be that I hadn’t addressed a specific point in the structure.
Since Malcolm Gladwell writes REALLY long pieces, my backup question would be: “What is the structure best used for this piece I’m editing?”
- Inciting Incident (1-2 Paragraphs) – Why do I want to write it? What is the source of my frustration? (Problem I’m trying to solve/Benefit for the reader to keep reading)
- Inputs (3-5 paragraphs) – How did I get to my epiphany? (What Information is needed to help me solve the problem? How did the experiment go?)
- The Change (1-2 Paragraphs) – Did I discover something unexpected? Was there a solution? Did I come out as a better person? (A reason for the reader to implement a similar change in their life)
Similar to when I work a track, I found that if I have something to latch onto…its easier to see where the next step would be.
Discovered a new artist, delighted by an ad, or found a way to reconnect with an old friend? Send me the lowdown via Twitter. 🙂