After the recent horrific terrorist attacks, it’s comforting to remember someone who advocated change without assassinating cartoonists or eradicating entire towns. We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday. King was electrifying, and as a speaker he drew on his experience as a charismatic preacher. He also pulled from an enormous stock of rhetorical devices to add even more creative power and evoke emotion. His now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., employed dozens of these, including charged words (last week’s topic!). Continue reading What Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Teach Us About Creative Power Writing
What do the words and phrases in the above columns have in common? They are “charged words”—words and phrases that, by their very sounds, definitions, connotations, or denotations, evoke a strong emotion in the reader or listener. Note the variety of emotions represented here—the horror you felt on 9/11, your anger at the racial epithet, your delight as you sang with Mary Poppins, the excitement you’ll feel when you win the lottery (even a dollar!). Continue reading The Shocking Truth about Charged Words
With the Polar Express bearing down, there is someone who will look beautiful and calm (she finished her shopping in October) with a box of homemade, decorated cookies; presents in paper with lots of of ribbon and bows; handsome sons and pretty daughters all dressed up; and no money worries.
Then there is that woman who will trudge through Toys ’R’ Us sans makeup to find that last Frozen gift; burn her one and only batch of chocolate chip cookies; stab the air with the scissors, Psycho-style, as the gift bags run out before the pile of presents, threaten to take back the kids’ gifts when they peek in the closet, and beg the post office to lose the bills in January.
Are you a hoarder? Maybe not in your home, but what about in your writing? Is it so cluttered with verbiage—wordiness, circumlocution, redundancy, modifiers, empty openers and phrases, pretension, clichés—that your readers stumble and rummage through it?
It’s time to purge. Even if you’re a creative writer.
If your writing is non-fiction or business, of course you want it to be clear and direct. But flowery embellishments and long, tangled descriptions don’t work now in creative writing, either. Maybe during the Victorian era that was the style, but today’s creative writing is clear and direct. All writers, then, need to use the “power” skill of writing concisely. Continue reading Call 1-800-GOT-JUNK?