Writers Should Serve Cake First, Then Veggies
A simple way to make your articles more compelling and easier to read
When my little sister wouldn’t eat her peas, Mom would make her sit there until she did. No cake for you. As a parent many years later, I pulled lots of tricks to stuff nutrients into our veggie-averse kids. Broccoli hidden in the pasta sauce. Spinach in the smoothies.
If you are a journalist, blogger, PIO or other non-fiction writer quoting a source, you want to employ the opposite tactic from my Mom: Serve the cake first. Then borrow from my parenting trick: Hide the veggies.
I’m talking about delivering the most interesting information as the main course, and putting the necessary but not-so-palatable bits in their place, where readers can savor or eschew them, as they wish. You might guess I’m talking about the story’s lede, that first sentence or two that draws readers in. I could be, but I’m not.
I’m talking about every sentence in your story, every paragraph. I’m talking about stating facts before citing where they came from, or putting quotes before attributing them to the person who said them. This simple flipping of info delivery, done throughout a story, renders the story’s juiciest bits way more digestible, the story more compelling and easier to read (or to skim, which readers do all the time).
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