Start at the end
Be clear what matters, and say that ﬁrst.
State your point “high up” in your
story. Journalists already know
this one. The whole point of a
story is summed up in its ﬁrst
few lines. The rest of the details
follow in order of decreasing im-
portance. If your readers leave
midway through your article, you
know they at least got the most
Whittle. Take what you’ve written
in your second draft and cut it in
half. Then cut it in half again.
Have a beginning, middle and end.
Ever been to Ireland? Then you’ll
know about captivating with great
tales. Entertain with your writing.
Give people a reason to keep go-
ing. Crescendo to a great end-
ing. Don’t just let your article fall
ﬂat because you ran out of time
or space. Outline. Plan. Think
through your story arc, and make
sure your ending satisﬁes. Reward
your reader for getting there.
Paint a picture.
Set the scene. People love to see
it with you. Build the senses into
your stories to add texture and
detail. You’ll be sure to capture
people’s attention if they feel like
they’re right there with you.
Research to understand what’s unclear.
People know if you’re faking. If
you’re not sure about your topic,
do your homework to learn about
it. If you can’t spend the time to
ﬁgure out how a thing works, or
why it matters, or what’s unique
about it, don’t expect your reader
to plough through a boring story.
Be a human.
Say things simply. Don’t try to
sound smart with fancy words
that make people’s eyes glaze
over. Use short sentences. Skip
words like “utilize” and “facilitate”
when the simpler “use” and “help”
do the job. Save your reader the
hassle of tripping over extra syl-
Delegate if you don’t want to write it.
Write what matters to you. Too
many people crank out boring
copy. Why? They’re not interested
in their subjects. Ask someone
else to write what you don’t want
to. If they’re passionate, that will
show. And your readers will be
Connect with us
Want to know more? Ask about
our Say it Simple workshops.