A few days ago I wrote a blog post called I Met A Gnome While Rock Climbing. I challenged you to spot the 8 deliberate writing techniques I used in the article.
Several of you were quick to spot my techniques. Here they are:
- I used a first person, conversational style.
- I broke up the words into short, readable paragraphs. (Most people will skip over densely packed writing.)
- I used humor.
- I included details—like the kind of shoes we were wearing—that made the story more interesting.
- I included pictures to illustrate my story.
- I used repetition: “I know I said I would never rock climb” was repeated for emphasis. I wanted it clear that I was really stepping out into the unknown when I went bouldering. The repetition also helped me to get back on topic after explaining the concept of bouldering.
- I used a simile and a metaphor. A simile is where you compare one thing to another, often using the word “like.”
Example: “Here they all are, clinging to the wall like so many spiders.
A metaphor is where you say a person or thing is something else:
Example: “You can definitely tell which one is a she-spider.” An occasional well-done simile or metaphor can really add punch to a story.
- I combined two ideas to reach an offbeat conclusion. Example: I took my first baby step toward rock climbing + the fact that I saw a gnome = seeing a gnome was my reward for being courageous. Humorist Dave Barry is the master at this.
My Readers Weigh In
I was pleased to see that many of you picked up on other ideas that I didn’t even think of. Here they are:
- The title draws you into the story. This is a very good point. If your title is bad, it’s unlikely anyone will even read your story!
- I gave the Who, What, Where, When, and Why.
- I used numbers or bullet points to break up the text, making it easier to read.
- I invited readers to actively participate by telling them to notice certain things, as though I was speaking directly to them.
- The story had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Thanks to all of you who shared your sharp observations!
Now It’s Your Turn!
The next time you create a scrapbook page, try to use one or more of these techniques to jazz up your journaling!