Tuesday, May 29, 2007

weekly writing coach: pointed letters

If you haven't tried writing an op-ed (our tips appear here), try the shorter letter-to-the-editor first. The form's the same: introduce the problem and where you're headed in paragraph one, and put your summation in the last graph. In between, sandwich one or two (at most) paragraphs of proof to underscore your point. You should still be able to read the first and last paragraphs and get the entire viewpoint.

Why bother? Well-crafted letters to the editor may get published as short op-eds. It's a great way to practice and break into the editorial pages. Your task this week? Take an op-ed out of your favorite paper and rewrite or edit it into a shorter letter to the editor. Try this one in today's Washington Post by Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, on the rise of income among the lowest ranked families, and how to build on welfare reform for further progress.

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