By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning nonprofit content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
An online devotional for writers
I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. (1 Corinthians 7:35, NLT)
A study Bible has extra notes, information, charts, maps, and illustrations to help readers understand the scriptural text.
Much of this information appears in extra articles or sidebars.
Study bible sidebars are not part of the original text.
Study bible writers have mastered these tips for writing an article within an article:
The same principles apply when writing sidebars for online and print content.
Sidebars supplement the main piece with extra content that may not fit in the flow of the main article but may be helpful to the reader. They help your reader avoid distraction and keep your main content on point.
A sidebar allows you to develop one aspect of a bigger story with a fresh twist or a detour. This is one place where you’re allowed to follow a rabbit trail with your words – as long as the sidebar content complements the main piece. Writing an article within an article allows you to give in-depth information about one aspect of the bigger story.
But as study Bible writers have learned, sidebars can be removed … and the original text can stand on its own. The main content remains the star of the show.
Sidebars are extras.
Sidebars are extras. Use them to prevent distraction from your main content.
Help me to avoid distracting my readers. Show me how to stay on point in an article. Let me set apart extra information from the main content.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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