How to Structure Your Writing
Great writers understand structure.
If your readers don’t understand your writing, they won’t understand your ideas. Improving readability improves understanding. Your goal as a writer is to get the reader to understand your ideas.
To achieve that goal, you need structure in your writing. You need to make your writing digestible, bite-sized. Smoothly transition from one idea to the next.
Here’s how you do it.
Go From a Big to a Small Idea
The hook is how you grab the reader. To write a great hook, you need two things:
- Keep the hook short.
- Make the first sentence grab the reader.
Keeping your hook sentences short makes them easy to scan. Especially if you’re writing on social media. You’re trying to grab someone’s attention.
So keep the sentence short and sweet.
Writing a hook that is polarizing, personal, or captivating helps grab the reader.
Your hook introduces the big idea. Now that you have the reader’s attention, you’re going to explain yourself. You’ll justify your reasoning.
Vary Your Sentences
After introducing the big idea with a hook, you want to dive into the meat of the topic. You want to explain your reasoning behind the idea.
You need structure to keep the reader intrigued.
My favorite way to do this is with varying sentences. You’re writing short, medium, and long sentences. Not like James Joyce long. Yet it should be longer than a few words.
I like this example from Gary Provost on writing:
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now…