Below are some useful tips put together by our judges on how to create a successful science communication piece.
- Tell a story! Think about who your characters are (they don't have to be people, they could be animals, molecules or even machines) and what happens to them.
- Write fast first, then edit. And then edit it again. Then leave it for a bit, have another look and edit again. Editing is what turns a good idea into a great piece.
- Read lots, and read critically. Find authors you admire (not just in science writing) and work out why their stuff is good, and also think about pieces you don't find interesting - what made your attention drop off?
- An interesting approach or hook will draw the audience in and make them want to know more.
- Use good, uncomplicated written English and make sure any scientific terms are explained; don’t have any defined acronyms.
- People have busy lives and lots of things to think about. How are you going to get your message to cut through all of that? Can you make it relevant to their lives and interests? Can you grab them emotionally as much as intellectually? If you're hoping people will find your subject inherently interesting, they probably won't!
- A quick note on technical language; please don’t use it. Remember this has to grab the attention of the general public. There are almost always other ways to explain complex concepts and if you really can’t get away from using a technical word then please define it. Definitely don't make it the whole focus of your piece! If all we get from your writing or video is a definition of one long science word it won’t sustain our interest for long.