Template from Walter Dean Myers

I like templates. I especially like templates that work. And when it comes to writing, I have used a template I found in a book by Walter Dean Myers entitled “Just Write. Here’s How.” Mr. Myers was a prolific writer especially of literature for young adults. In this book on writing he offers a template for writing fiction and one for non-fiction. Since I write the latter, here’s what he suggests to organize a piece of writing. He calls it the four box model.

In Box I he raises a question.

In Box 2 is the evidence that supports the conclusion in Box 4.

Box 3 is your explanation of why the evidence in Box 2 leads to the conclusion in Box 4.

Box 4 is the answer to the question.

As an example, he cites a biography. One could write an essay on why is George Washington  called the Father of our country?  See? You have a template. Note the question  can be explicit, as with George Washington or implicit as in “It’s 1972 and the man in the corner office is wearing a World War One uniform.”

Comments welcomed.


About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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