Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Topic: A well-written article

10-second review: Model of a well-written article.

Quote: “A well-constructed article is like a sideshow. Let’s stroll down a typical circus midway, and take a look at one of the ballyhooed attractions.

“First you see a teaser from the show, right smack in front of you, to catch your eye. Then a sideshow barker belts out a short spiel, telling you why you should plunk down your money and come in, and why you’ll be glad if you do and sorry if you don’t. If the teaser appeals to you, and the barker persuades you that this is something you don’t want to miss, you go in and catch the tent show. The show works up to a rousing conclusion in the finale, and that’s it. If the teaser was truly a foretaste of even better things to come, and if the barker was right when he told you that this was something you would not want to miss, you leave the show with good feelings about it.

“The same is true of an article.”

Title: “An Article Is Like a Sideshow.” Helen Doss. November 1958. In The Writer’s Guide to Good Writing, Ed. T Clark, et al., 1994, pp. 128-133.

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