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The Writing Pyramid

July 19th, 2013

First, thanks to Karen for last Friday’s blog post. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of writing the kind of children’s stories that you enjoyed when you were a child.

Things move on and it’s a very different world now to what it was 30 years ago (or 50, if you’re a grandparent). I think that in many ways it’s much harder being a child today – the pressures to grow up too fast are so intense. So, it really is essential that you know what children’s lives are like and write for them as they are now.

Writing for the Internet

And it’s the internet that’s changing all our lives – there’s no escaping that for the writer. To earn a living you need to be versatile and writing for the internet and web pages is just one of the avenues many people find themselves going down. So, what’s the difference between writing ordinary copy and writing for the internet? In brief, here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

• Write as you talk – use contractions (he’ll, she’s, don’t etc) and be chatty.

• Use everyday, simple language – not jargon or ‘tech-speak’.

• Keep it concise and snappy. People scan websites rather than reading every word. Make it easy for them to pick out the information they want or need. Think of the journalistic pyramid. Put all your important information at the top, then if the reader only goes through the first couple of paragraphs they still get the full message. Anything below is just supporting information.

• Make sure it is lively and holds the readers’ interest or they’ll drift away from the website at the first link and you’ll have lost them.

A Big Issue for writers!

Next, the new Writing Award for short fiction, is a competition launched by The Big Issue in the North. The first prize is £1000. Five runners up will receive a Kobo Touch and the top ten stories will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is a ‘donation’ of £10 – see their website for full details – and the closing date is 1st August. So, you don’t have much time if you want to enter. But it does give you the chance to exercise your writing muscles in a good cause and have the opportunity of winning a substantial prize.

My guest next week is Writers Bureau tutor, Michelle Higgs. She has a really useful post on how to put together a perfect pitch when you’re sending out work to editors. This is an area that worries so many inexperienced writers and a few tips from a professional never go amiss!


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