Those who have taken a journalism class have probably come across the “inverted pyramid” concept. Simply put, this refers to the style of news reporting which puts all the pertinent details at the top of the story. Right from the first paragraph, the reader gets to know the “who, where, when, what, why and how” of a story, with the remainder of the work serving to fill in the details.
While not a popular approach for writing class essays, this is actually a very valid structure. In fact, when students ask me to recommend simple essay formats, this is among the ones I suggest.
The inverted pyramid works great for different types of essays, from character profiles to descriptive essays to reviews. However, it is far from being the most creative approach. Neither will it make for the most compelling reading. For the most part, this is a great approach if you’re short on time.
How so? News writers tend to write pieces very fast – that’s because this structure lends itself very well to that. Because you’ve already spent the starting paragraphs filling in the general details, it saves you from having to introduce major elements in the body. As such, writing becomes very straightforward and factual. Pair it with a high-quality writing software and you’re golden. Similarly, this also allows for faster editing. You can literally shave multiple sentences from the trunk down and retain the essence of the piece, since the pertinent details are all laid out at or near the head.