Everything Must Lead to Your Final Conclusion

Everything, absolutely everything must lead to your final conclusion.

This is “rule” I was teaching my Technical Writing students as we were discussing feasibility reports.

If the information is not necessary, don’t include it. If the information is too long (charts, graphs, tables) and takes away from the final message then either remove it or put it an appendix to be looked at later, but take it out of the report.

Never let anything get in the way of your final conclusion that should lead to an action. (A feasibility report usually looks at various scenarios and makes a recommendation on the best one based on presented facts.)

ConclusionWe discussed creating a feasibility report on the college getting a baseball field. First we brainstormed header topics and then put them into a preliminary order. Because most people are uncomfortable with money, the students put the “Cost” section near the bottom.

However, with further discussion they realized that the audience (the President of the College) who would be reading this report would be most interested about how much would it cost and what the return on investment would be. As a class, once they worked it out, the cost section got moved up to the top of the report and some sections that they though were important (School Spirit) fell down to sub-headers, if even that, under other topics.

It’s the same thing with a novel, I told them (also acknowledging that this was not a creative writing class) you need to put the most important information up front. This will be what grabs your reader and it will set the stage for your story to continue.

And then every scene that follows should lead to your final conclusion.

It’s when you add extra information that you bore and confuse your reader, begging them to leave your work. As a writer, you just don’t want to do that.
Writing is writing, I tell my students, oh sure, there are different styles, like Technical Writing which requires specific formatting and chunking of information, but for any message to be clearly made, no matter what style of writing you choose, you still need to be:
• Clear
• Concise
• Writing to your audience, and
• Giving them what they care about

Just like in a feasibility report, if the information is not necessary in your story then don’t include it.

See? In many way, writing is writing – it all follows similar guidelines to make sure you get your point across most effectively.

Hmm, Perhaps my next challenge should be to write a novel using Technical Writing techniques.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)

16 thoughts on “Everything Must Lead to Your Final Conclusion

  1. I like this idea and it’s definitely true. So many times you pick up a book to read and find that it begins taking you off on seemingly irrelevant tangents. Hope you don’t mind, I’ve reblogged this on my page, The imAgine RooM.

  2. Good post, Wendy. One way I look at this issue is to remember that readers have a limited attention span as well as many distractions.

    To keep them engaged, writers have to make an emotional connection with readers with the first sentence, paragraph, scene. If you give them a reason to continue, you’ve won the first battle. Give them a character, setting, or mood that will hook them to read more.

  3. Great advice there. I just finished writing my draft piece on “endings” and how I critique them in a writer’s group. Though that has to wait for Monday, I saw some points in common with what you’ve written. Feels good to know I’m on the right track. 😀

  4. There is a lot to be desired in many Technical Written Instructions. Ikea uses pictures. That often leavens one scratching their head too. Very frustrating when you see the finished product and what you have put together doesn’t remotely resemble it.
    Leslie

  5. Pingback: Everything Must Lead to Your Final Conclusion | lizstincelli

  6. Very true. Sometimes I think schools encourage students to ramble when they enforce page minimums, but fail to take off as many points for rambling or fluff as they do for not meeting the required length.

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