October 13, 2011
Centrifugal Flow In Writing
I spend most of my day working with young people on reading and writing. As a benefit, I get to see how people think about writing. As a consequence, I see how poorly some people write. I also see how they tend to make writing much tougher than it really is.
All writing should have a centrifugal flow. It should move from start to finish in a manner that begins with things related but less important to the piece’s center and then move toward that center. In a centrifuge, a vial is spun and the key material is pulled to the bottom of the vial. As writing happens in real time, the significance of what is being said should increase in intensity and significance until we get to the end (whenever and wherever that might be) and the piece wraps up.
Where mistakes are made is in seeing the funnel process. Many of my students don’t see that the big things enter the funnel first and then are consistently spun down until there is a core. Their thesis (center point) should be defined at the start, but the spin of the writing should work closer and closer to the center as their paper or essay builds. Centrifugal flow applies to any type of writing (even in business). If you can’t solidify your idea across a space of words, you aren’t really communicating.