Surprise Me! The Art of Keeping a Reader’s Attention
Jul08

Surprise Me! The Art of Keeping a Reader’s Attention

Predictability kills attention. It makes you nod off or close the web page or put down the book, never to pick it up again. Surprise, on the other hand, rivets you to your chair. “Engage people with what they expect. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War Attention feeds on surprise. The Joker...

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How to Tell a Story: Truth is More Important than Facts
Jun15

How to Tell a Story: Truth is More Important than Facts

Does the great Norman Rockwell illustrate the real America on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, or does he show us America as it ought to be, an America that each of us sees ever in our hearts, though never with our eyes?” Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads The goal of writers, actors, artists, and storytellers should be — as Shakespeare wrote — “to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue...

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A Writing Tip that’ll Ignite the Imagination of Your Readers
Jun06

A Writing Tip that’ll Ignite the Imagination of Your Readers

Details are always more believable than generalities. They’re more interesting and persuasive too. Writing that is littered with generalities makes us yawn. But details ignite a reader’s imagination. And once you’ve captured our imagination then you can take us where you will. We will follow. I learned this principle from my friend and marketing genius, Roy H. Williams: “The simple truth is that nothing sounds quite so much like the...

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Five Things Writers Can Learn from Fly Fishermen
Apr28

Five Things Writers Can Learn from Fly Fishermen

There is a pecking order among fishermen. It’s an iron-clad hierarchy. Inviolable. At the very bottom of the pyramid is the guy who uses a bobber. What is sporting or even interesting about sticking a worm on a hook, tossing it into the water, and then sitting there waiting for the bobber to move? How…inelegant. There are only three people who should use bobbers: six year olds, 87 year olds, and Huck Finn. But most guys who fish...

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