Write for Profit with Professor Dick

Monday, October 02, 2006

The First 10 of 50 Article Structures

qThe First 10 of 50 Article Structures
Presented by Prof. Dick Bohrer
Blog #7

First sentence contains the essential point of the article. It answers all the readers questions, giving the essential ingredients at once. Paragraphs, sections and whole articles (see #2) may be one inverted pyramid.
In news stories, the first sentence tells who is involved, what happened, where, when, how and often why.

This story will begin with the mention of that single feature in an all-encompassing first sentence and then in successive paragraphs will develop the details of the story to the conclusion. The whole article will be one long inverted pyramid.

This mentions two features in the first paragraph and then through the article will develop the first feature and then the second. Some articles will use two sentences or a whole paragraph for each.
Many articles these days will begin with a story or a conversational lead. The essential ingredients will come in the third, fourth or fifth paragraph.
Half-way through the article, the writer will revert to the first feature for more development before turning to the second feature again. This will add details that were not important enough for the primary statement but which are nonetheless significant.
The structure may turn again once more near the end to the first and then to the second feature before concluding.

This story will mention three features in the first paragraphs and then will develop each of the three in turn, one after the other.
Again, half-way through the article or so, it will revert to the first feature again for more development before it turns to the second and then the third feature.
The article may go through the three once more before it concludes to add further details not covered earlier. It may not.
The conclusion will restate the three features, but should do so in reverse order so the reader won’t be bored by another retelling. Mention the third feature first, then the second, then the first last. This gives a new, fresh look to the three.

This may be handled in various ways—as salient feature, composite, summary, round-up. It will be a major story with many main ingredients and it may go on at great length.