Stack of blocks

What form would you write in for maximum power and understanding? 2500 years of rhetorical studies and research suggest the following characteristics:

· A beginning, middle, and end.
· The beginning predicts the middle in form and content
· The middle contains the information, divided into sections by subjects, in logical order.
· The ending gives a sense of closure.
· The sooner readers know what the piece is about and why they should read it, the more they will understand.


We call this form the “stack of blocks” because the middle consists of a sequence of subject-related sections, framed by a beginning and an ending. One section follows another based on the readers’ information needs; if they need Part 1 to understand Part 2, then Part 1 comes first. How many sections can you have? Not many, preferably no more than seven, and better three.

How do you design a stack of blocks? You clump material on similar subjects into sections, and then stack them in logical order.

Here’s a short stack with only one block, framed by a lead and an ending:

With Halloween rapidly approaching, the question arises: What wine goes with candy? Food writer Kara Newman suggests in Wine Enthusiast online that, like pairing desserts with wine, you should match wine to flavors, “such as chocolate and caramel, fruit and spice, custard and vanilla – that you’re as likely to find in your trick-or-treat bag as on any fussy restaurant menu.”

She recommends Port to pair with chocolate, “but pour anything in the red wine family, such as banyuls (a sweet red wine from France) or shiraz alongside handfuls of M&Ms, pint-sized candy bars or other chocolate Halloween treats. Baby Ruth, Snickers or other nutty candy bars in your bag? Select a sherry or Madeira to complement rich nut flavors.”

(Last year a neighbor who accompanied his kids was standing in the background holding an empty wine glass, which I filled with some cab. That’s my idea of adult trick-or-treating.)

[How do you organize sectioned pieces?]

Published in: on June 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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