Order Your Words For Emphasis: A Poynter Tutorial

Course Overview

Order Your Words For Emphasis: A Poynter Tutorial
Video Tutorial
Time Estimate:
This Poynter tutorial is 11 minutes long.

About Video Tutorials

In a video tutorial, Poynter faculty teach tightly focused lessons on key journalism skills. Loaded with practical examples and instruction, each tutorial gives you tools you can put to work for you right away.

In this 11-minute video, Poynter's Roy Peter Clark will show you how to move words around in sentences like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle until you find the perfect fit. "When people ask me for my favorite writing tool, I say, 'Order words for emphasis.' It turns out there are some hot spots in your story where your best words can get the special attention they deserve."

Using examples from literature and journalism, Clark will show you how much more effective your writing can be if you put words in the right place at the right time to guide your readers. Plus, you'll get links to related training and other Poynter materials to help you be a better writer.

Watch the three-minute free preview

What Will I Learn:
  • Where the best writers put their best words and phrases
  • How you can identify the "hot spots" – the points of special emphasis – in your story
  • Why punctuation, and even white space, can make a huge difference in how readers experience your writing
Who should take this course:

Reporters and writers who want practical ways to improve their writing, editors who want to strengthen the writing in their publications, and anyone looking for fresh techniques to guide and engage readers.


Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, where he has taught writing since 1979. He is the author of the book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer and course on Poynter's NewsU The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use, and the book The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. His latest work includes the book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces, companion course on Poynter's NewsU, Help! for Writers and mobile app Help! for Writers. He is part of the one-day workshop, The Writing Process, offered through Poynter's NewsU. He also blogs and chats about writing tools on Poynter.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @RoyPeterClark.

His newest book is How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.

Technical Requirements:

This course requires the Flash Player 8 plug-in. For the highest quality viewing experience, we recommend using Flash 9 or higher.

This course contains audio, so please make sure you have your speakers or headphones on.