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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How writers can overcome reader resistance

Following on from yesterday's Reading Room post on Tim Radford's 25 commandments for journalists, here is some terrific advice from an experienced editor and author, Arthur Plotnik, who has contributed a guest post to the very useful Daily Writing Tips blog.

I was hooked by Plotnik's electrifying opening line:

All we writers crave is to charge into the resistant, overloaded brain of a reader and shoot forked lightning through every last dendrite.

Who can resist such a creative intro? Who can hold off the urge to read the next line and the next paragraph and all the paragraphs that follow? Not me. And, I hope, not you either. Especially if you want to be engaged, entertained, and enlightened. And definitely if you want to be a good writer.

Here are the points Plotnik is emphasising:

1. Specificity.

2. Supercharged verbs.

3. High performance modifiers.

4. Fresh intensifiers.

5. Sound words.

6. Surprise images.

7. Nowness.

8. Street beat.

9. Big nature.

10. Tough talk / Irreverence.

11. Understatement.

12. Torque through intensity.

And here is his post in its entirety with all these points explained in detail, with examples: "Twelve Non-Negotiable Elements of Force in Writing". Have a ball!