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 DEFENDS - A Writing Strategy 
by Elaine Ernst Schneider

It's as simple as that? DEFENDS? Well, no, I wouldn't say writing is ever simple. But there is strategy that offers an author - whether student or professional - a method for organizing thoughts, getting the reader's attention, supporting opinions, and producing a good piece. 

Seven letters, seven points.

D -- Decide your exact position. What is it that you want to say? Don't be too broad. That turns readers off. A broad position usually transmits the hidden message that you are trying to please everyone and be all things to all people instead of making a definite statement. 

E -- Examine the reasons for your position. Do you truly believe in what you are saying? 

F -- Form a list of facts and examples that supports your position. Research. Interview. Read. Then put it in your own words.

E -- Expose your opinion in the first sentence. Clinch the reader's attention with a dynamite, to-the-point opening sentence. You've lost most people after the first paragraph if you don't.

N -- Note reasons and supporting facts. Don't tell your readers to think a certain way without telling them why. Afterall, why should they believe you?

D -- Drive home your position in the last sentence. Sum it all up. Even if your reader doesn't agree with you, you want to leave him pondering your point of view. If nothing else, you want your article to gain the reader's respect by showing that you did the research and had facts to support your opinion.

S -- Search for errors and correct them. Poor packaging makes the best material appear at
its worst. 

Now...take your DEFENDS strategy and go write! 

Submitted by:  © Elaine Ernst Schneider  is a freelance writer and a teacher. She has been writing since high school and has published articles, songs, and children's work. Presently, Elaine is a curriculum author for multiple, national, educational publishers.
Send your feedback to Elaine

"Dear Elaine

I am coordinating permissions for a Grade 8 textbook to be published by Thomson Nelson Canada: "Canadian Identity."

We would like to an adaptation of your DEFENDS strategy from . The attached letter describes our project and includes a permission release form. Please respond before April 28, 2006.

Thank you very much for your help,
Freelance Permissions Coordination"

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