December 5, 2016

End with a bang

Leave a lasting impression in the kicker

Think of the kicker as the fireworks display at the end of the Fourth of July picnic. It’s the reader’s reward for making it to the end of the piece.

End with a bang

Razzle-dazzle me Surprise and delight readers with your kicker. Image by @yb_woodstock

The job of the kicker is to leave a lasting impression. Where the lead draws readers in with concrete, creative, provocative details, the kicker lets readers go using the same approaches.

But wait! Surely there’s a metaphor for that.

Think of your kicker, the experts say, as a:

  • Gymnast sticking the landing. “The ending of your story may say to the reader, ‘I decided to stop writing here,'” writes Roy Peter Clark, Poynter Institute senior scholar. “But if you have the readers’ needs in mind, you want your ending to be more than that. If your story is short, you want your ending to ‘stick the landing,’ the way a great gymnast completes a vault.”

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“The most satisfying story endings reverberate like a Chinese gong. They conjure up images from throughout the story, then take you back to the beginning.”
— Chip Scanlan, an affiliate faculty member at The Poynter Institute

Catch Your Readers

Inverted pyramids ‘do not work well with readers’

Writers say, “We use the inverted pyramid because readers stop reading after the first paragraph.” But in new research, readers say, “We stop reading after the first paragraph because you use the inverted pyramid.”

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to use the inverted pyramid.

Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to use the inverted pyramid. The traditional news structure reduces readership, understanding, sharing and engagement. Image by Sheila Sund

Indeed, our old friend the inverted pyramid hasn’t fared well in recent research. Studies by the Poynter Institute, Reuters Institute and the American Society of News Editors show that the traditional news structure reduces readership, understanding, sharing, engagement and more.

In short, researchers say, inverted pyramids “do not work well with readers.”

At Catch Your Readers — our two-day writing master class on March 22-23, 2017, in Las Vegas — you’ll master a structure that’s been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, pull them through the piece and leave a lasting impression.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Grab reader attention with a lead that’s concrete, creative and provocative — and avoid making readers’ eyes glaze over by using one of the seven deadly leads.
  • Increase reading, understanding and sharing with five techniques for cutting your copy significantly.
  • Stop bewildering your readers by leaving out an essential paragraph. (Many communicators forget this entirely.)
  • Avoid the “muddle in the middle” by choosing one of five structural techniques from a rubric created by the founder of TED Talks.
  • Draw to a satisfying conclusion in the penultimate paragraph.
  • End with a bang, not a whimper by using our three-step test.

This is the only writing workshop we have planned in Las Vegas in 2017. Don’t miss out on your chance to Catch Your Readers in Vegas! Register now.

“Amazing. Made me feel energized and excited about writing again.”
— Rosemary Gudelj, senior manager OCEO & P.A., Water.org,

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in Los Angeles: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in Los Angeles on Feb. 23-24, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Las Vegas on March 22-23, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's Tight Writing workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 6-7, 2017
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Chicago on May 18-19, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Boston on June 19-20, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's tight-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017
Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017
Register for Catch Your Readers in Dallas: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Dallas on Oct. 16-17
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Boston: June 19-20, 2017
  • Chicago: May 18-19, 2017
  • Dallas: Oct. 16-17, 2017
  • Des Moines: Feb. 8, 2017
  • Fresno, CA: Jan. 24, 2017
  • Geneva: Dec. 1
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17, 2017
  • Las Vegas: March 22-23, 2017
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 23-24, 2017
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12, 2017
  • New York: Sept. 25-26, 2017
  • Portland: July 27-28, 2017
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18, 2017
  • Washington, D.C.: April 6-7, 2017
  • White Plains, New York: Dec. 13

Keep up with my calendar.