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Create Pictures - How to Make Your Writing Jump Out

Lesson 24 from: From Structure to Style: Master Your Copywriting

Shani Raja

Create Pictures - How to Make Your Writing Jump Out

Lesson 24 from: From Structure to Style: Master Your Copywriting

Shani Raja

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Lesson Info

24. Create Pictures - How to Make Your Writing Jump Out

Next Lesson: Quiz - Chapter 5


Class Trailer

Chapter 1: Copywriting Fundamentals


Class Introduction - Overview of the Course Content


The Five Aspirations of a Superior Copywriter


The Importance of Defining Your Intention & Audience


The “Secret Sauce” of Good Copywriting


Quiz - Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Simplicity


Introduction - The Power of Simplicity


Lesson Info

Create Pictures - How to Make Your Writing Jump Out

in this lesson, you're going to learn how to boost the evocative nous of your writing by creating colorful and compelling pictures for your readers, You'll know by the end how to make the subtle tweaks needed to bring out the latent power of otherwise dreary sentences. Now over the years, I've learned that the best and simplest way to create pictures in a reader's mind is to produce sentences that focus whenever possible on two crucial things. Players and action. And that's because both players and action, along with any physical objects referred to in a sentence, are things that you can easily see in your mind's eye while you're reading. I'll show you what I mean, suppose you stumble upon this dreary sentence in a college prospectus. High powered jobs are likely to become more accessible upon graduation if coursework is attended to diligently over the next three years and you know why that sentence isn't very stimulating to read, it's because it's hard to visualize much in there. What...

's your mind as you read those words, trying to find something, some image to grab onto or some action? Where are the people, the players and where is the action? Now, you can easily turn that sentence into something more impactful by drawing attention to the people and the action that is buried within it. Now have a go at doing that yourself first. Well, how about this? Students who apply themselves diligently to their coursework over the next three years will find it easier to land how high powered jobs once they graduate. Now that's not a particularly snappy sentence, I agree, but it's better than the original horribly abstract sentence that you saw before? Right. At least you can now see people in action. If you were to apply some of the simplicity tactics to the new sentence, you may end up with something tighter, much tighter like this. Students who work hard, get the best jobs. The important thing to note here is that we've taken an abstraction and we've turned it into more of a picture and it's this kind of advanced literary surgery that can bring your writing suddenly to life and make it jump out, so to speak. Now, another way to create compelling pictures for your readers is to drill down into the details of a particular scene that you are describing. For instance, look at the following sentence where though you have a focus on players in action already there, the description is still fairly dry. Police took strong measures to confront the violent and disorderly conduct of dozens of people assembled at last night's protest. Now it's not the most colorful or dramatic of descriptions, is it? So how might you rephrase the sentence to make it more stimulating? But for the sake of this exercise, let's suppose that the protest involved a violent all night clash where protests was throwing objects at the police who were on horse, horseback with police dogs by their side. Try to imagine what might have happened, visualized the scene as it might have occurred and then try to describe it vividly and dramatically in just one strong center. Okay, well how about this mounted officers and police dogs battled throughout the night with dozens of angry bottle wielding protesters. You get the idea and hopefully you have something similar or even better Now to be clear, I'm not saying that this type of dramatic language is always appropriate for all types of, of nonfiction writing, but it's useful to have this understanding so that you can sort of flex your creative muscles whenever you wish to grab the reader's attention. Speaking of pictures, there is a type of sentence you may have heard of it that can make images for more slowly in the mind and they're called passive sentences like this one. The business owner was advised by the consultant to hire a new accountant. Now I find it useful to think about passive sentences to in terms of players and action. So let's ask who are the players here? The business owner, a consultant and the accountant. Right. And where is the action? Well, one of the players, the consultant is telling another player, the business owner to take an action. Another action, hire a new accountant. So to get this picture very strong and effective. What would be the best order in which to sequence the action? Well, it would be the consultant telling the business owner to get a new accountant. So how might you write rewrite the sentence to capture this more natural order of events? Well here's how I might do it. The consultant advised the business owner to hire a new accountant. Now notice how that image now just just pops into your mind more in more of a natural way. And that's the reason why many people say active sentences are more impactful in general than passive ones. They create instant pictures in your mind. Now I should point out that there are instances where passive sentences may be preferable either for clarity reasons or elegance reasons than active ones, but use carelessly in your business or blog writing. They will more often harm it, then help it. And with that we now conclude our exploration of the four ingredients of exceptional writing. I'll take this moment to encourage you to keep these four ingredients in the front of your mind whenever you're writing or editing anything. And now with these foundational writing concepts under our belts and along with the mindset principles we discussed beforehand we're ready to move on to the editing part of this course. But first, please take the quiz at the end of this video where you'll be able to ensure that you've grasped all the important concepts from this chapter