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6. Pick a puzzle. Portray, or even conceive, of your work as an answer to a puzzle. There are many interesting types of puzzles:

“X and Y start with same assumptions but reach opposing conclusions. How?”
“Here are three problems that all seem different. Surprisingly, all are the same problem, in disguise. I’ll tell you why.”
“Theory predicts [something]. But we observe [something else]. Is the theory wrong, or is there some other factor we have left out?”
Don’t stick too closely to those formulas, but they are helpful in presenting your work to an audience, whether that audience is composed of listeners at a lecture or readers of an article.

This is good advice to open an essay, a lecture or a sermon. Too many talks begin with bad jokes or poorly told stories — and at the end of the story you still don’ know why you’re listening. Using a problem as the introduction gives the audience a reason to read or listen until the end.

Writing, like any art, takes work: Read the rest at the Chronicle of Higher Education