How to Write Interesting Articles
Writing interesting articles begins with the writer. Capturing the audience is the key to substantial and good writing.Sometimes including readers in your thoughts causes them to become increasingly curious about the subject presented, which should be something your target readers can relate to and understand.
Pick a subject your target readers will be interested in. While writing style and flare will keep the reader reading, these only help in articles that draw their attention.
Start strong. The “lede,” as it’s called in newspapers, is the single most important part of any article because in one paragraph at the beginning you need to entice the reader to continue. The best first paragraph is so intriguing that readers already are at paragraph 6 or 7 before they realize they didn’t really intend to read past the beginning.
Use questions sparingly, and not as the first sentence unless it is something uniquely intriguing. The reason is this: if you start your article with “Have you ever thought about being a writer?” it gives the reader the opportunity to say “No” and move on.
Write in short paragraphs--no more than one or two sentences; never more than one in the first paragraph--that will allow the reader to easily focus on the story and not just your style.
Be conversational. Don’t toss in big words to show off how smart you are. No one really cares. Most casual readers will stop reading after hitting a couple of “50-cent words.” Cut out any unnecessary words. If you can say the sentence without a word and it still says the same thing, get rid of it. “He currently is the commissioner” is better as “He is the commissioner.”
Use humor and wit when you can, but don’t be esoteric (how’s that for a “50-cent word?” It means obscure or understood by only a chosen few people). Humor can make the article more appealing. Humor, even in serious drama, is a comfort to the audience.
Focus on the topic throughout the article and keep the audience close. Allow them to feel they are part of the story.
To get a good idea of good writing, try the books “Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, and “On Writing Well” by William K. Zinsser. They are old standards but valid today. Zinsser periodically updates his work and writes the book in the easy, conversation style he is teaching.
- Shawn M. Tomlinson