Insert Title Here

This is the lede that grabs you to read.

The opening paragraph has to be provocative or does it? It more often than not introduces us to the subject matter. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first paragraph in an article is just that. How does the writer do it? Well, you’ll find an anecdotal tale of some sort to prepare you for the remainder of the article. This includes a personal or professional parable about the author to add reliability, the high level facts of the news they want to share, or the building blocks of an op-ed to ensure that you see the path they want to traverse so their message resonates. If this is a poem or short story, then everything I just typed might go to Hell at a micro level, but not macro. I think. One overarching point is that this paragraph can either draw the reader in with excitement, or discourage them from finishing. So paragraph one has to be fire.

These next paragraphs are where the author makes the big bucks. For however long the article/story/sonnet is, you’ll see them expound on their initial thought with information to support their statement. Similar to a rap legend allowing the beat to build before dropping a metaphoric spirit bomb of lyrics on the track, writers will develop their main idea with a symphony of ideas, feelings, and opinions.

Investigative journalists will inundate you with statistics, quotes, references to other stories and the results of their findings so we can connect the dots together. A movie reviewer will fortify their stance on a yay or nay by walking you through the key aspects of what makes a film dope. An advice column will let the lover in despair know what they should do, and why in these following paragraphs. Some of the most famous speeches given by classic characters, both fictitious and real, are birthed within the hallowed halls of the body of their work. Is that why a collection of work is called a “body”? Sorry maybe that’s fake deep and I’m not trying to look it up right now so…yeah. If the burden of the opening paragraph is to interest the reader, the meat of the story, the successor paragraphs, keep that interest and amplifies it exponentially. There’s no limit to the depth or breath of these paragraphs, they just have to be substantial and congruent with the theme of the article.

The conclusion is the coup de gras of the authors written masterpiece. The written mic drop of your article. The end culminates the entire point the author elucidates throughout the x number of paragraphs they write. Conclusions can be direct, witty, informative, educational, or just right. The right thing that you need to read to sum up the story perfectly. When you stick the landing with an excellent conclusion, and invoke that emotional affirmation from the reader, the author knows they did it right. That’s why we love and loathe cliffhangers. They leave us on the edge of their seat, leave us with more questions than answers, and have us clamoring for more. The final sentences to the author’s piece are their Jerry Springer “final thought” moment, and what they need to type, they will. It’s never a pretty bow tied to the end of the story, but it will be a necessary one. Writing those final words, watching them hit the paper (or screen) and being done feels like Steph Curry holding his right hand in the air with the follow-thru motion as he watches a routing 28 foot 3 point shot hit nothing but net. This is it, and this is good!

So that’s an oversimplified way to describe the article writing process. Glad I was able to type that out, so now I have an outline for the article I wanted to write today. Wait…


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Jeff J. is a TV Host, Entertainment Correspondent and writer. Fancy bio and social media stuff can be found HERE

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