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Saturday
Jul092005

Tutorial IV: Main Body (Blocks)

With the Nut Graph sorted out, I'd like to now share with you another aspect of the Blundell Technique. And this has to do with the blocks that he uses to organize materials for his feature stories.

The body of the story is a series of information blocks. But they're not about time. They're organized by subject.

In a story about egg production, one block might be about foreign competition. Another might be about the environmental effects of an egg farm. Another might be about daily work on the farm.

These are arranged in the way that seems to best support the focus of the story. Writers will usually find clever ways to bridge each of these blocks. Or they might insert subheads to introduce each section and to help organize the story.

The block structure pares a big, overwhelming writing job into manageable chunks for writer and reader alike.

Each block should make its point with three examples, proofs or illustrations. (Two are too few; four are overkill)

Blundell has six key blocks that he would use in his feature articles:

  1. History: What’s the background to this situation?
  2. Scope: What is the extent of the problem?
  3. Cause: Why is this happening?
  4. Impact: Who and what is affected by this?
  5. Action of contrary forces: Who is doing what about this?
  6. The future: How is it going to be in the coming days, weeks, months and years?

Not all these blocks need to be included in your final story. Nor must they appear in the order presented above. But if you have the material to answer all six questions above, you've got the ingredients for a very good feature.

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