Friday, November 25, 2016

Sheridan Baker's Keyhole Diagram for Essays

Sheridan Baker's book, The Practical Stylist, has a keyhole diagram describing a design pattern for essays. I saw this diagram when I was a young man in college and the diagram stayed with me forever.

I made this sketch from memory (click on the  image for a larger version).  You can see the original in The Practical Stylist.  Dr. Baker credited Mrs. Fran Measley of Santa Barbara for creating the diagram.  Here is another blog post about the diagram:
The diagram as made an impression on many people.

I read a very long essay, an entire newspaper page, that impressed me as well written. I went back through the essay, comparing it to the diagram, and I found the article did indeed follow the pattern.  Your children might benefit from this diagram.  As a visual aid it does make an impression.

Your friend and neighbor,

I last mentioned The Practical Stylist by Sheridan Baker in a post-script to my article, Grammar for Your Child  April 3, 2015.  I just realized I have not written a full article about this book.  I'll do that some time.
If you are curious about Dr. Baker, here is his obituary:
I recommend his book The Practical Stylist, but if you become curious about another of his books called The Complete Stylist, I recommend you avoid this second book. It is a theoretical book, not a practical book.  Here is a review of The Complete Stylist

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