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Principles

1. Understand who and why

2. Understand the text

3. Choose what to say

4. Slash everything else

5. Edit sentences

6. Put into logical order

7. Demolish walls of words

8. Use links in the right way

9. Rest it then test it

 

3. Choose what to say

Put the best bit first.

Start with the most useful chunk

(Also known as the inverted pyramid principle).

Look for the chunk that is most useful to the people you're writing for. Move it to the start.

Group chunks by topic

Move the other chunks around so that everything on the same topic is grouped together.

Don't worry about rewriting (yet)

At this point you'll probably have too many chunks and too many headings. That's OK because you will be cutting out the unnecessary ones in the next step: 4. Slash everything else.

 


Tip: Make sure destinations work on paper

When someone skips and scans to something that really is compelling, they change approach and start to read in a concentrated way. They have reached their destination.

That's when many people still prefer to print and read from paper. So make sure that it works well on paper, too.


Inverted pyramid principle

Pöttker, H. (2003) "News and its communicative quality: the inverted pyramid - when and why did it appear?" Journalism Studies, vol 4. no. 4


Where to find out more

Ginny Redish's book

chapter 8: Announcing Your Topic with a Clear Headline

chapter 9: Including Useful Headings