Jotting the Sections

Readers understand the middle of the piece best if you section it, i.e., organize it into groups of material related by subject matter, putting those sections into logical order. How do you figure out the sections? One way is by rearranged jotting.

You ask yourself, “What are the important things here? What does my reader absolutely have to know?” Then you jot those things down as separate sentences or just notes, say, about ten things. Then you ask which of those jots are sections, which are parts of sections, and which have nothingto do with this piece. Then you rearrange. Here’s an example from a story about my family’s recession financial strategies:

JOTTINGS
Retirement savings lost 30%, still dropping.
Wife’s strategy, convert to cash
My strategy, ride it out.
Bernard Madoff
Money managers smarter than me
Difficult to time market upturn
Preserve capital
Treasury incompetent
Advice from several sources
Patience and courage
Quick tactical moves of funds
Diversification among stocks and instruments
Cash hurt by inflation

REARRANGED INTO SECTIONS

LEAD: Retirement savings lost 30%, still dropping.

WIFE’S STRATEGY, CONVERT TO CASH
Preserve capital
Quick tactical moves of funds

MY STRATEGY, RIDE IT OUT
Money managers smarter than me
Cash hurt by inflation
Difficult to time market upturn

OLD WISDOM STILL TRUE
Advice from several sources
Diversification among stocks and instruments
Patience and courage

DELETE: Bernard Madoff, Treasury incompetent

A little rejiggering and revision will turn that sectioned list into a plan for typing.

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Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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