Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My biggest writing/reading pet peeve right now follows this form:

"Dear ___________," (optional, but standard)

[basic, simple, usually short introduction]

[extremely bold statement, typically of protest or disapproval]

[the exact phrase, or similar to] "Let me explain..."

I realize the intention is to catch the reader off guard, to say something outlandish and out of character such that the reader immediately takes notice, audibly gasps, and reads on with intense voracity (this is the only way I imagine the writer is anticipating his/her audience will react).

To me, it just seems gimmicky, unnecessary, and a little like spoon feeding.

If what you're saying is really that radical and bears an immediate explanation, such that the reader (typically NOT the person to whom the letter/Manifesto is addressed at the beginning, btw) is already hoping for said explanation and sees that this particular blog entry does not end with the simple yet bold statement but continues for, say, several more paragraphs, then you might not really need this particular form.

I'm not posting examples of this because the two blogs I've seen lately that I know follow this form are otherwise well written, and I do not want to detract from that.

But for all future generations of writers, if what you're saying really is that radical, you don't need this ploy. Let your opinions stand out on their own. You don't need to stoop to gimmicks. You don't need to resort to laziness. Be smart with your writing and people will take notice, without even being told to.

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