One of the greatest obstacles many writers face when attempting to start a new project is how to format the article. I know I used to spend a great deal of my preparation and brainstorming time trying to sort out the answer to that very question. Similarly many of the writers that I work with as a writing instructor and consultant were struggling with the same issue. If you are reading this article then probably you have as well.
Writing a short article can be even more challenging because you need to stay focused and organized, however writing a short article really can be very easy if you work with a simple structure. In fact it only involves three steps:
Step One: Write a thesis statement
I know you just had an ugly flashback to freshman composition class and I apologize for springing it on you like that, but really your English teacher did know what he or she was talking about when they insisted you have a thesis sentence for your essays. A thesis is key to all successful essays and articles because it is the heart of your paper. It is simply the main point you are trying to make with your article. As the central or controlling idea, your thesis statement holds the article together. Your thesis statement is a promise to your reader -- "I am going to say this". If you do not have a strong thesis you run the risk of confusing your reader or even losing the reader entirely.
In addition, your thesis also helps you as a writer because your thesis introduces your subject and what you have to say about it. Simply brainstorming a thesis can get you rolling and for short essays and articles that momentum can often be enough to carry you through.
However if you take your thesis statement to the next level it can be an even greater asset. A simple thesis is short and to the point, for example: Writing an article using the three-step process is easy. However, an expanded thesis includes not only the position statement but also some supporting reasons (I recommend using at least three) to shore up that position. So an expanded thesis becomes:
Writing an article using the three-step process is easy because it offers a format and organization that is flexible and simple, it can be adapted to a wide variety of situations and topics, and it is a proven formula.
This step is the most important of the three and key to your success. Don't forget a good thesis defines the purpose of the article and outlines/introduces the message the writer wants to send about the subject; makes a clear point that is supported by the body of the article; and uses specific, concrete language.
Step Two: Frame Your Article
When builders "frame" a house they build a structure that will give it support, shape and a framework for outer coverings. This is essentially what you will do during this step. You have begun the process by shaping your thesis statement but now you need to add some notes on how you will expand the three supporting points you outlined in the second part of your thesis. This step does not need to take very long although time spent here may well save you time on step three.
Step Three: Write Your Article
You have now laid the foundation to quickly and easily write a short article following the keyhole strategy:
Your goal is to write a simple five-paragraph article following this structure:
~ 1st paragraph--Introduction including thesis
~ 2nd paragraph--Body-Topic/supporting point 1
~ 3rd paragraph--Body-Topic/supporting point 2
~ 4th paragraph--Body-Topic/supporting point 3
~ 5th paragraph--Conclusion
Each of the three body paragraphs should expand on the points you identify in your thesis using the ideas and examples you brainstormed during step two.
This simple strategy won't be likely to win you any writing prizes but it should enable you to quickly write a short focused informational article that you can use for many of your business needs. The optimal length for many internet articles is 450 words and this structure should help you achieve that with ease.
Deanna Mascle is the publisher of the writing newsletter Word Craft Online [http://wordcraftonline.com]. You can submit your writing to her Article Directory. She is also happy to share tips and advice for Writing On the Internet [http://route60.us].