Sell me a story, and I’ll always read your work
Put your words on canvas, and never let them dry and die if you want me to inhale your story.
Like paint on canvas can speak your talent, your thoughtful wisdom on paper can too
You place your words next to each other in an attempt to seize attention. More importantly, are you arousing curiosity?
Each time you read an article or a book, you decide based on the words in that very first paragraph whether you might continue on or not. Sometimes you stop reading, but sometimes you give the writer a chance, right? You get curious about what’s going to be said, shared, revealed, or explained NEXT.
If you’re writing an article or short story, you want to almost write a summary of your whole piece inside that first paragraph. It’s like an introduction where you’re making a brief announcement. That announcement is an invitation or it’s an exclamation.
Be quick and to the point
Because you’re wanting that captive audience almost immediately from the start, let your readers know in less than a couple of minutes what they’re getting into. Let your spark light up your audience. You can go into your details later.
Think about how many conversations, emails, or text messages start with, “OMG, you won’t believe what happened to me today!” which gets most people wanting the actual details. You probably don’t want to start an article with this, but you get the gist.
Have an active voice instead of being passive
If you use an active voice, you’ll eliminate a lot of unnecessary words because you don’t want to lose your reader. If you’re a visual learner like I am, you learn by examples. See below.
Passive: Emma’s softball team was shattered by the team from Nebraska at Nationals.
Active: At Nationals, Nebraska’s team shattered Emma’s team.
Passive: The book with the red cover was read by my cousin in one week.
Active: My cousin read the book in one week.
The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action. For example, in the sentence “Laura complimented Allan,” Laura (the subject) is performing the verb (complimented) and Allan (the object) is receiving the action. It follows a clear subject + verb + object construct that’s easy to read. (Source.)
Relate to your readers with relevant topics
When you’re writing, do you ever spend a lot of time wondering what will be interesting to your readers? Do you search for unique topics?
If you wrote a book review, for example, maybe a film is being made about the book. You could tie in that tidbit of information into your article.
Differentiate yourself as a writer. I always think it’s important to stand out and stand apart from what others are doing. As a person, if you want to be who you are, then write in the same manner and try to be differentiated. Don’t write like everyone else.
Emotional language engages readers
Do you ever read titles that appear to be full of drama? That drama plays on emotions and readers are reeled in.
Sharing a story about an emotional experience can help you and possibly provide advice to readers.
Your personal story might provide suggestions on how you coped with a specific loss. You might have helpful advice, as a parent, that includes positive tips on how to raise a child with autism.
When you share a piece of yourself with readers, you raise a string of emotional reactions: compassion, empathy, or understanding.
Uh, about that word, ‘facetious’
As you were learning words in school, were you ever taught that the word, facetious, was easy to spell because it contained all the vowels? It’s not a complicated word but if you’re striving to be clear and concise and quick with some of your readers, try saying joking instead.
Don’t use acronyms and assume people know what you’re referencing. If you want to use an acronym, then the first time you have a phrase like American Red Cross, put (ARC) after the phrase the first time you reference it and use the acronym thereafter.
Including quotes promotes believability
Sometimes writers include quotes from other well-known authors, pop-culture icons, politicians, or poets. They help to convey your message and further give your reader something to ponder.
If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. — Toni Morrison
If you’re looking for a good quote for your article or blog that is associated with a writer, click here.
Thank you for reading.
© CJ Coombs