Why I Thought I'd Die

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Kilian, Chapter 3

"we usually pay most attention to text at the beginning and end of a sentence, and especially to text at the beginning of a paragraph"-28

This quote reminds me of why the inverted pyramid exists. The truth is, we're constantly in a rush. Television and the internet have made us grow accustomed to instant image and information access. It's not so much a novelty anymore: we expect it. Media influence our behavior. People probably rarely sit down and read the entire paper anymore. Many of us scan for just the important facts. Writers have accepted this fact. Articles should identify their purpose within the first few sentence. Do not wait until the middle of the thrid paragraph to actually begin talking about something.

"Unusual Statement. Anything surprising will give your readers a jolt and make them wonder what other bizarre things you may have to say"-34

I'm noticing a lot of parallels between this book and newswriting. I guess web writing isn't all that different. This term was called an anecdotal lead in newswriting. We use the same principle in our blog titles: make your work stand out! Put some humor in there, but make it relevant. I think I have a good example here (note: I would have linked to the online version, but it doesn't exist).

this is the opening sentence of my summer article:

 "I recently spent 10 days in Paris for my capstone project and my first remark about the trip is that I thought I was going to die."

now, don't you want to know why I thought I was going to die?

 

"your readers, not you, will decide what your site really means and what value it has"-52

 

Okay, this is the last time I am going to rip on the hacker-bashing blogger*. This guy should have a section for feedback (and should listen to it). Right now, the blogger looks like an ignorant jerk making a bunch of fanatical statements.

 

note the comment:

"And every derogatory tip I get about your background, I will publish."

Ace of Spades HQ, I think you care a little too much about David Kernell. I'm gonna take a guess that a lot of people don't.

Doesn't this just say it all:

Amazon Honor System

 He said it. I didn't.

 

and now for some completely irrelevant but somewhat entertaining(?) comments:

 

*does the name 'hacker-bashing blogger' remind anyone else of the episode of Spongebob with the 'hash-slinging slasher'? Or is that just me?

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"On holiday just after the publication of his novel Les Miserables, Hugo sent the following telegram to his publisher" 39

 

LES MIS SHOUTOUT!!! BEST MUSICAL EVER!!! (I couldn't help it)

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2 Comments

Jackie Johns said:

You're right, I do know why you thought you were going to die!

But as for Kilian, you make a good connection between his suggestions for webwriting and news writing...something I didn't even think of. But the speed of communication and information exchange that society has become accustomed to is astonishing. I can even feel the effects in my own shortened attention span, and it’s something I must consciously fight against. To use a news writing example: I feel the need to lay down a news article jus after getting to the main point, even though there is no good reason why I couldn't read it to the end.

Andy Lonigro said:

I also agree Dani. I guess it's kind of like dangling the bait. Letting the reader of a taste of something really sweet or addicting, which hopefully lures them into reading the rest of the article. Not that we're all starving for attention, or hunting people. We just want our readers to, as Kilian puts it, get jolted by something they see early so that it keeps them hooked for an extended amount of time and they give our work more thought than a quick glance and a push of the back button.

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