Believe me - I know, I've been there for my Gold Arts Award and it wasn't pretty (imagine crying, coffee and paper screwed up all over my office). That's why I've written this, to give you guys the help I never had!
1. An Idea
This is the most crucial part of writing anything. When trying to think of an idea for your opinion piece it's important that the issue is something that you feel strongly about, and have a relatively good knowledge of – it's no good writing about the preservation of 18th century architecture if you couldn't care less about it, as this will be reflected in your writing.
Know your stuff. This is the key to writing a well-informed opinion piece. Make sure you have points from both sides of the argument, and that you can understand what each side is saying. Obviously, as it is an opinion piece, you are free to put your own points of view in as well, but a good piece will encompass most, if not all of the different viewpoints. Also, ensure that you reference any studies, articles, or papers that you use in your piece (this is because using someone else's work without crediting them is stealing).
Okay. So you have your idea, you've done your research, now what? Well, writing the piece would be a good start, but before that you need to decide on your structure. Most pieces have a clear beginning, middle and end. In each of these there is a standard format:
Beginning – Outline the concept of the piece, and give possible context for the issues you will discuss. No more than 100 words, ideally you'd be looking at 50.
Middle – this is the main bulk of your piece, and in it you should include:
- Opinions from different parties involved
- Your opinions
Data is important to consider when comparing opinions, as it can give crucial context, and may even influence your own opinion!
With this section you'll want to use as many of your words as you can, without being unnecessary! Be concise! Don't repeat points! Avoid repetition! Don't say the same thing over, and over again!
End – Make your conclusion, and summarise the key arguments as briefly as you can. You'd be looking to have 100 words max – as with the beginning.
4. Edit and Reflect
After you've written your piece, print it out and have a read of it. I don't know why, but when you print something out all the errors leap out at you! Get someone else to have a read, a parent, friend, teacher etc. they're bound to find something! Nobody's perfect, otherwise why are you reading this?
I hope this little guide helps you, and have fun writing your opinion pieces!
- Image courtesy of Flickr/JoeBehr