The basics of writing articles are just that, basics. However, there reaches a point in time when you want to go beyond basic structure and start using other techniques based upon what you’re trying to accomplish. This article is going to cover some of the article structures that you’re likely to write or run into. Some are better than others but all are certainly viable.

The one shape that you absolutely want to stay away from is the blob structure. The reason it’s called the blob is because it basically has no shape whatsoever. It rambles on aimlessly and ultimately loses the reader. Writers who write in a blob structure are usually beginning writers and have no idea what structure is. This is the kind of writing that puts most people to sleep and results in very few sales or whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish with your article.

Another shape is what’s known as the pyramid. With the pyramid, you give very little information at the top of the article and then as the article works its way down, it provides more and more information. There are pros and cons to this shape. The pros are that if it’s an interesting subject, you’ll probably get people hanging on at the beginning hoping for the good stuff later on. The cons is that some people won’t hang around or, when they get to the bottom of the article where you’re pounding them with information, they get lost and confused. The pyramid, while slightly better than the blob, is still not all that good to use.

The shape that I like the best, is the hourglass. This is she shape that most magazines use. They give you the meat of the story up front, such as when somebody dies, and then the fill in the details as the article moves along. Take a look at any obituary. It will usually start with something like, “John Doe died at his home last night at age 82”. Afterwards they’ll get into the details of how he died. Then as the article goes on, it will talk about the things John Doe has done in his life, starting with the early years and working up to the present. At the end, the article will talk about the family he’s left behind and so on.

The hourglass is the best kind of writing. Read some obituaries and you’ll learn a lot about writing articles.

To YOUR Success,

Steven Wagenheim

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