Monthly Archives: December 2013

8 Persuasive Writing Techniques to Make the Story Appealing

Whether the story is fictional or not, there are less well-known persuasive writing techniques you can use to make it more appealing. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminding and boom, just like that new ideas come on like cerebral wildfire. In this article we’ll look at eight reliable methods you can use to compel your readers into deeper personal involvement.

persuasive Writing Technique

#1: Almighty Propaganda

Not to get dark or anything, but look at how well certain governments and corporate bodies throughout modern history have used propaganda to persuade the masses do any number of oddball things.

  • Are you adequately repeating the theme of the story in different ways?
  • Are you creating characters that deepen the story by reinforcing your point, or pull it apart?
  • If you need the reader to feel or imaginatively see something, then it bears repeating.

Listen, the facts are in ladies and gentlemen: if you repeat a theme, a moral or even a marketing slogan to someone through a story about ten times over a short period you’ll imprint it within their minds. Say the same thing, show the same scene, or make the same impression in a series of different ways like creative and subtle propaganda.

#2: Provide Reasons – Anything Will Do

Give the readers good reason they should continue on with the next paragraph, buy the product, get involved with the character or even take you seriously as a writer. One of the most powerful words in your reason-arsenal is “because.”

Why because? Who because? When because? What because? Everything needs to have because after it in one way or another for readers to buy into whatever story you’re selling. And here’s the key, your reasons don’t technically need to make sense.

Of course in non-fiction this is situational, but for sales copy and fiction writing in general the reasons just need to be good enough to persuade, right? Since most human beings are persuaded emotionally, there’s a big grey area in the reasoning department.

#3: Consistent Upward Climbs

Rollercoasters are awesome, but they’re also mentally exhausting. If you want to drive readers nuts and have them begging for a CTA (call to action), then build your story with steady unchanging upwards momentum. Think about it from a psychological perspective.

How much of human society is based on consistency? The power grid, entertainment, the work force etc. We’re mentally programmed not to come across as inconsistent. So, consistency needs to be woven into the fabric of your persuasive writing.

#4: Lavish Readers with Social Proof

Social proof is about tapping into another engrained trait – need for acceptance. Whether we want to admit it or not, we like to do what everyone else is doing. A simple example is, pretend you have a choice between two items of equal price and quality. One has customer testimonials extolling its virtues while the other does not.

Which one do you think roughly 8 out of 10 people go with? Now, those testimonials could be completely false. It doesn’t occur to us to check their validity. Once you learn to recognize social proofing you begin to see it in all of the most powerful writing, regardless of genre.

#5: Parables, Allegories, Metaphors & Similes

You could throw Myths in that list as well. This is the stuff that drives the human mind into frenzy. The trick, and the challenging part, is to make them original. How many creative, funny and ironic comparisons (simile) can you make between a mouse and a man?

Metaphors get complex ideas across in a digestible way, through story. They make direct connections in indirect ways. Allegories are tough. Try making one of those up. Think about Plato’s timeless “Allegory of the Cave”.

There is perhaps nothing more powerful than the proper and effective use of these tools. You can dramatically sweep minds right off their feet and into your arms (see what I just did there?). Study them and whenever you can, use them.

#6: Appeal to the Human Animal

Objectively, human beings are beings just like any others, at least in a physical sense. We’re governed to certain degrees, by instincts. These instincts go back hundreds of thousands of years. Jealousy, envy, acceptance into the tribe etc. When you really want to grab someone, grab them tribally. We all intimately understand the concept of “tribe.” Modern tribes are everywhere!

#7: Unrestrained and yet Structured Insanity

Go crazy. Do the unexpected and throw a few proverbial BIC lighters into the fire when no one’s looking. Upset the tribe. The key is to only allow true chaos to reign momentarily. If you sustain it too long the writing will thin out and all connection might be lost. Structure the insanity.

#8: Get Psychological

Last but not least, when your writing needs to evolve go psychological. It’s all psychological regardless really. Become the captain of that ship rather than the guy up in the crow’s nest. As the writer, you’re in control of the rudder of your story, not the audience. Use their minds as your persuasive sails.

Have you created your own story? Do you have any tips for writing with persuasion?

Who Invented Writing and What It’s Becoming

If you want the super-detailed high-brow answer to who invented writing equipped with links to volumes of collegiate historical data, then by all means visit the Wikipedia entry. Otherwise, this article is designed to provide a more concise view and then get straight to the modern conceptions of writing.

who invented writing

We’ll begin by defining “writing” as symbols (letters/words) that are used to convey something. With that said it becomes clear we could go all the way back to the first cave dweller to draw on the cave wall, or in the mud.

How did it happen? Was it the protein in our diets, ancient astronauts, cold Darwinian evolution or benevolent Gods? Let’s try not to get lost in abstraction too soon. Writing happened because over a really long period of time humans developed a more and more complex way to communicate with one another.

We developed writing systems so that more people could talk to each other in an easier to understand and efficient way. Writing began as utility.

What Writing Is Transforming Into

Now, here we are in the very early 21st century technological era. First graders today have a completely unique view of what writing and human communication is.

  • Books have become eBooks.
  • Reading is now synonymous with browsing, web surfing and eReading.
  • An increasing portion of all global communication happens in a digital realm.
  • Facebook updates can change lives or begin careers, while Tweets can start or stop social revolutions.

Most human beings are bombarded by advertising and marketing signals over a hundred times a day in tons of different forms. The first thing many millennial folks imagine when the subject of writing is brought up is the blogosphere.

We’re headed towards a near future where one single search engine company commands and acts as the gatekeeper to the brunt of human knowledge. Where the first place the new generations turn to for answers?

How People Become Writers Today

Think back just 10 short years ago, maybe even less and consider what it was like to become an officially recognized, published and professional writer.

  • Right now, if you wanted to you could open up a word processor, jot out page after page of nonsense, slap a snazzy cover image on it and self-publish it on Amazon as an ebook. Then, you could call yourself an ebook writer.
  • You could set up a blog, start blogging and call yourself a blogger. The titles was recently used in the halls of the US Senate and White House.
  • You could sign up for free to any of the online freelancing websites and call yourself a copywriter.
  • You could hop online and study endlessly on how to be a writer for absolutely no cost from your bedroom, or on a beach somewhere using a laptop and a wireless connection. Ivy league college now offer advanced “open-source” writing classes.

Is traditional or conventional education even required anymore to be considered a writer? Are writing classes even necessary? You could call yourself a social media writer and compose updates, tweets and blog comments for people and businesses.

What a writer is now and is becoming is a completely new and unique thing from any other time in human history. You could publish something online, that should it go viral, would possibly be read by people across the globe within minutes, or hours.

The Emergence of Viral Writing

To get an inside perspective of where modern writing is headed, we need only look at it from the standpoint of professional web writers. A new profession really, that’s only just begun to spread. However, already the demand for folks that write specifically for web-audiences is prolific.

  • They don’t need to have any classical writing education whatsoever. In fact, these days it’s uncommon for celebrated web writers to mention their educations at all.
  • The primary goals of their writing is to sell, inform and entertain but many of the conventional rules of writing no longer apply.
    Standard web articles are meant to be easy to scan, and present comparatively bite-size chunks of data.
  • Non-fiction is shrinking at a rapid rate. The majority of people who buy non-fiction online get them in small packages roughly 10-25,000 words which not long ago would have been the average length of a single chapter.

The history of writing and where it’s going is an incredibly complex subject. Right now there’s an extreme lack of attention being given to how writing is transforming. And, along with it, us. What will people think of writing in 2020?

What will it mean to be one at that time? With video and mobile technology advancing so quickly, will there come a time when the written, or textual word is irrelevant?

How to Write a Story Plot that Doesn’t Suck

No matter what kind of writer you are or want to be, mastering the plot can seem like an uphill battle. Life is a plot. Everything is a plot, but don’t let the complexities confound you. The formula of plots can be broken down into smaller more bite-size chunks of information that are easier to digest.

In this post we’re going to go over a list of traits that you’ll find in every truly noteworthy plot. These help to provide some structure. Then, the second half of this post lays out 6 steps in sequence that while brief, pretty much provide the bullet-point perspective of plot writing.

Writing a story plot

Specific Authority Signals of a Good Plot

This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means but it covers the bases. These 8 thinks are common to all memorable and engaging plot.

  • Niche: Every piece of prolific writing was written for specific type of person, or for niche of people. Plots shouldn’t be designed to try and please everyone. Plots don’t have a one size fits all formula. Each genre presents its own set of rules, codes and expectations that must be met for general approval.
  • Theme: Likewise, all great writing revolves closely or loosely around a theme. Like a dog on a chain. No matter how far the chain stretches, the dog is always fixed into a certain environment and cannot leave. You could even call it a background theme if you want, but don’t confuse it with the setting.
  • Structured Chaos: One of the most impressive plots to hit the contemporary world would have to be The Matrix trilogy. Each of the three can stand alone. They all have every base covered and there’s tons of structure, but the sense of reality is constantly blurred. Find the niche, tether them to a relevant theme, and then add some chaos into the world they inhabit.
  • Conflict: This is plot writing 101. Nearly all of the celebrated plots involve conflict.
  • The Onion Influence: Let the plot unfold one layer at a time. With each peel the tension, conflict, emotional involved and investment should increase. Furthermore, try to influence their bodies the way peeling or cutting a fresh onion can (tears!).
  • Characters: Characters need to be specific, memorable and possess their own unique quirks. Never ever short change characters, but don’t bog down the plot with too much character development either. Think of it as a tiny step beyond a “need to know” basis.
  • Setting: A third of the plot is dictated by where it takes place, regardless of how many different locations are visited.
  • Presence: If the plot were to magically transform into a human being, what kind of presence would they project? Strange question right? Seriously, what kind of vibe is being created by the plot, and is it under your control?

6 Practical Steps to Composing a Righteous Plot

Now, let’s move on to the six step process of putting together a solid plot outline that you can use to craft a great piece of sales copy or perhaps a work of fiction.

  1. Purpose & Desire: What is the inherent desire of the plot, and what is the purpose you have in mind for the reader? Now, every viable plot either solves a problem, answers a question or attains some kind of goal. Coming to terms with the overall goal of your plot is the first step. Each events leads towards it. Every word is a step towards that goal.
  2. Destination & Consequence: If the goal is clearly in focus you should be able to know what the conclusion is going to be before you write the first word. The conclusion is the destination; the culmination. This is your second step. Something to keep always in the background of your mind is, what will be the overall consequences of this plot?
  3. Requirements: What needs to happen to get you from the beginning to the ending without getting lost along the way? What are the requirements to meeting your goal and reaching the conclusion? Drafting these out and thoroughly understanding their place in the plot is your next step.
  4. Intermittent Forewarnings: The next step is to strategically think of forewarnings you can place throughout the story that either subtly or obtrusively warns the reader that the conclusion, or climax is coming. In a way, you could imagine these forewarnings as consequences as well. They are the direct result of the journey reaching close to its end. They don’t have to be either good, or bad just indicative.
  5. Sacrifice: The last step is coming to terms with the price/prices that must be paid for reaching the goal. Sacrifices must be made. Powerful plots draw readers in and involve them. Goals must be obtained. Answers uncovered. Problems solved, but everything comes with a price in life.

This should help, but ultimately it comes down to thorough planning and organizing your plot as you hash it out on paper, or on screen.