March 6, 2014
Op-ed writing is a mix of art and science. As with any form of writing, the art comes with practice -- and lots of it. The science, on the other hand, can be learned. Here are a few of the basics.
First, virtually all op-eds are 800 words or less. Seven hundred words is even better. You can't solve all the world's problems in 700-800 words -- but that's all most newspapers have space for. Further, many readers may not make it through many more words than 800.
Second, every op-ed should start off with an interesting lede. Newspapers are in the business of, well, news, so a timely opener to your piece -- one that positions it within the context of what's going on in the news world -- is usually best.