What is the point of this post?

I found another writing trick this week. This one helps me make sure my story flows in a logical order, and that it addresses all the important points.

Editing our own work is hard. We all gloss over sentences when we already know what we meant them to say. We know how we got from one paragraph to the next, and it’s easy to forget to bring the reader along.

This week as I was editing Susan’s story about evolutionary pressures on islands, I took note of where the article left me, the reader, at the end of each paragraph. Then, if I had a question, or wanted to know more about something she mentioned, I wrote it down.

So what’s the trick? Sometime as I’m writing a first draft, it helps to start each new graf with a question. I read the previous graf and ask myself what I’m left wondering about. Then I write it down.

Having the question on the screen in front of my face makes me focus the graf on answering that question, which forces me to stick to one topic per graf. It also prevents me from leaping into a totally new topic with no transition. If it’s appropriate to the format I’m writing for, I might even leave the question in the final version.

This definitely doesn’t work all the time. But sometimes is better than no times, I think.

0 Responses to What is the point of this post?

  1. danielleventon 29 October, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    That is a neat trick. I’ve been noticing quite a bit of trouble organizing my own thoughts this week. I think I’ll give your new method a try. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  2. Jane Lee 31 October, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    I find your trick useful some times, and I also find that if I copy and paste a pertinent comment or two from an edit into my piece, it helps to keep me on task. I take it out before I submit the final version, but it helps when I can just look up and see “SHOW ME,” or some such comment, all in caps.

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