Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 9 of 21)

Two ways to outline your article:

Here are two methods, both of which provide a helpful formula. I'm not a formula-type writer, but both methods have proven beneficial to many.

#1Train Method: (Visualize the old-fashioned freight train with the snowplow, locomotive, boxcars, and caboose.)

1. Snowplow or Cowcatcher: You grab attention, carry readers into the article with a quote, anecdote, or question to rouse curiosity and keep them reading.

2. Locomotive: Write the theme or purpose that sets the direction and establishes your focus. It's a concise statement of your viewpoint.

3. Boxcars: They carry the evidence that supports your premise. This is the heart or substance of the article and you arrange it in logical sequence.

4. Caboose: You end the article so that readers feel they are at the end and you didn't merely stop.

#2 Guideposts Method: This is the basic formula used by Guideposts magazine for their articles.

1. Hey! You grab attention.

2. You! This is the theme or reason the article is important to readers.

3. See! You show your viewpoint or purpose. This is the body of the article.

4. So? This is your conclusion. You haven't finished until you show readers the relevance of the article to their lives.

Because I want to learn, 
I seriously ponder the two formulas.


  1. Cec, I've never heard the Guidepost method. It looks like a simple formula. I like it. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for lining out the Guidepost method. I had the honor recently of attending an Elizabeth Sherrill Master's Writing Workshop and she went over this method, but I didn't take good notes. Saving this post.

  3. Two very good formulas for writing.

  4. Thanks so much for this post. I'm doing some catchup reading, so I'm way behind! I've never heard of this Guidepost method either, but it's catchy and easy to remember. I'm saving the outline.


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