Tim Radford, science editor of the Guardian ’til recently, mastered the art of telling a gripping, good story — no matter how tough the topic. One day Tim wrote some notes about how to do it. Here’s the start of his “Manifesto for the simple scribe” (to see the whole list, click on the link):
1. When you sit down to write, there is only one important person in your life. This is someone you will never meet, called a reader.
2. You are not writing to impress the scientist you have just interviewed, nor the professor who got you through your degree, nor the editor who foolishly turned you down, or the rather dishy person you just met at a party and told you were a writer. Or even your mother. You are writing to impress someone hanging from a strap in the tube between Parson’s Green and Putney, who will stop reading in a fifth of a second, given a chance.
BONUS (added Jan 27): Video of Tim’s talk at Imperial College, about this: