The Personal Touch: Using Anecdotes to Hook a Reader


June 23, 2015

VitaeArticle

Interested in writing op-eds or short essays for places like Slate, the Huffington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. You may already have a terrific idea and a topical subject. Because of your credentials and research, you’re probably the perfect person to write it. The only trouble: Op-eds and short essays are likely to get turned down in today’s saturated market. Competition is fierce and a lot of professional writers are your direct rivals for space.

One of the biggest reasons that an editor will pass on a scholar’s submission is – and prepare yourself for some tough love here – it’s more than a little boring. The writing is too dull, too dry, too navel-gazing, too “academic,” or it’s all four of those things put together. In other words, it’s not for a general audience. Editors can usually tell if they’ll accept your piece after reading your lede alone. It’s that important.

So if you have a timely topic for an 800-to-1,200 word nonacademic piece, and you want to grab an editor’s attention, the first thing you should be thinking about is the “hook” for your “lede”. To learn more read the full article from Vitae. Photo by Ciaran Dunsdon

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