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Example text

Don't tell your readers-show them. Many beginning writers make this cardinal error: They describe their thoughts, feelings , and attitudes about a subject rather than allowing the facts , action , and evidence to speak for themselves. " You can tell me that "The ship was heavily weighted. " A picture is worth a thousand words. Persuade with examples, not opinions. The best method for making readers see things from your perspective is to present so much hard evidence and so 20 TONE many persuasive examples that they will reach your conclusions on their own.

What caused this seemingly well-adjusted teenager to turn to drugs? How could a boy of Chatterton's age ever write such profound poetry? What can the besieged gardener do to combat Japanese beetles? 2. Create a situation ofjeopardy, then resolve it. A critic once remarked that the essence of any drama is as follows: In the first act you chase your hero up a tree; in the second you throw stones at him; in the third you get him down. This principle, so universal and so recognizable, applies 48 USEFUL STYLISTIC TRICKS to other branches of writing as well.

This technique is by no means confined to novels and in fact can become the very backbone of a gripping piece of reportorial prose: What is this mysterious force that keeps the electron circling atound the proton? What caused this seemingly well-adjusted teenager to turn to drugs? How could a boy of Chatterton's age ever write such profound poetry? What can the besieged gardener do to combat Japanese beetles? 2. Create a situation ofjeopardy, then resolve it. A critic once remarked that the essence of any drama is as follows: In the first act you chase your hero up a tree; in the second you throw stones at him; in the third you get him down.

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