The inverted pyramid format calls for the most important information to be at the beginning of the story. It is useful for breaking news and requires the writer to analyze the subject before writing.
- Identify the essentials
The five W's, including Who, When, Where, What, Why, are the essential elements of a story. "When" is usually not the most significant fact. "What" or "who" is often the most interesting to readers. "Why" and "where" can be developed further down in the story.
- Compose the lead paragraph
Most first paragraphs are comprised of one sentence containing a maximum of 35 words. The lead should contain the most vital fact and should not attempt to tell the whole story. The text should be simple, direct and employ a vivid verb.
- Flesh out the story
The second paragraph should enlarge on the facts as stated in the first paragraph. It should not introduce new information or launch into a chronological narrative.
- Include all essentials
Succeeding paragraphs should cover all relevant information. Major elements should be attributed, and direct quotes should be used sparingly. Each paragraph should contain a new element of the story with a segue from the previous section. Paragraphs should not be more than three sentences long.