Today I have learnt that everyday non-fiction writing or expository writing e.g. blogs, memos, articles, essays etc., should show the conclusion at the beginning of the piece and not the end. It’s the first principle in Brandon Royal’s ‘The Little Red Writing Book’.
Royal explains that the purpose of expository writing (as opposed to creative or fiction writing) is not there to surprise the reader, but to explain or inform them. Putting the conclusion at the beginning tells them what they are going to read about, with the details following in the main body.
This ‘top down’ approach or ‘BLOT’ (bottom line on top) that Royal suggests, is a technique that teachers use – they will look at a student’s piece of work and nearly always have to take their last sentence and move it to the top.
My thoughts: This is interesting because most may think that saving the conclusion until the end would keep the reader interested, but why make them wait? If you are not getting to the point, they may get bored if they are short of time. By using this method it may be easier to cut your own work, if you have too many words when you get to the end. I will definitely be reviewing some of my articles and notes now to see if I can improve them.
I think I may also use this approach when verbally communicating with others as well – giving them some sort of direction of where I am going with my conversation. I’m sure I waffle on annoyingly sometimes instead of getting to the point (my partner would agree if he ever reads this blog!).
Hope you have enjoyed today’s notes and will continue to stay with me on my challenge.
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Brandon Royal (2004) Little Red Writing Book, USA
i think if you open up the mystery before the story even starts what will be the real taste of story then. so i opt to put summary in the end.
Ah yes, I agree that you would leave the summary at the end for fiction, but for non-fiction you might want to catch the readers attention at the start, and it also provides a summary of what they are going to be reading about. Thanks for taking the time to comment.