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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Persuasive Writing | Shaun Roundy, University of Life

This advice-packed site is a roundup of articles that blogger Roundy has posted about persuasive writing. It covers the topics below, with a link in each article that continues with more advice, information and examples.


If you're very interested in improving your persuasive writing, I recommend taking the time to read each linked article.

Introductions
First Impressions
They can clarify what the paper will cover so readers who want that information will continue reading, or pose questions, or build significance, or generate curiosity.

Introductions also create expectations for the rest of the paper. ...
Managing Opposition
When writing on controversial issues or if you make statements that readers disagree with, they may become uncooperative. This does not mean you can’t make such statements, it just means that you’d be wise to prepare your audience first. ...
Overcoming Barriers
Consider the following strategies for getting around barriers.
  • Inform. ...
  • Create dissatisfaction. ...
  • Frighten or warn. ...
  • Reward. ...
Values
Values accomplish two important goals in papers. First, they generate interest. By appealing to readers’ values, by definition you also appeal to their interests.
Second, because an individual’s values determine the vast majority of their choices and actions, skillfully-developed values can become a motivational force in persuasive papers. ...
Adequate Arguments
"Anything worth saying is worth saying well." ...
One of the best ways to make sure you say something well is to say it thoroughly. Don’t risk a paper’s most important ideas or images to a few hasty words when developing those items with explanation, example or comparison could make them so much stronger. ...
Bridge Sentence Structure
Bridge sentence structure moves the subordinate phrase to the beginning of the sentence, and the main claim to later in the sentence. Thus the “bigger” ideas get piled atop “supporting” information, just like a bridge spanning a river where the pilings are placed before setting the road or walkway atop it. ...
Abstractions ...
Love. Fear. Pleasure. Pain. Greed and generosity.
These are all abstractions, and if you can evoke them effectively them in your writing, you will capture and harness interest, passion and motivation. ...
Yet for all its power and beauty, abstractions have their limitations. ...
Concrete Details
Most people have an easier time processing concrete details than abstractions. ... We live in a very concrete world, after all. Concrete details are therefore easier for readers to grasp (literally).
Make it real. ...
The Weakness of Strong Telling
The danger of accidental exaggeration happens when writers use very powerful descriptive words but fail to “earn” such a strong reaction by creating a compelling case for the strong claims, or when the strong words are imprecise and inaccurate.
Examples:
» The airbags deployed and the smoke consumed me.
Really? Consume = “to eat.” Was it an acid or super-heated smoke that melted the flesh from her bones? If you meant that it surrounded or “swallowed” you, then pick a verb with a more precise connotation. ...
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