Write for language lovers, not just word lovers!
We are all familiar with the adage, “less is more,” but when it comes to the use of language, this can take a curious twist. While wordiness is a total turn-off, image-conjuring descriptives can help the reader relive, see and sense the story. Your words create the journey, the experience and ultimately the passion that every reader desires.
Examine your content, not just your grammar!
The words you use in your content can strengthen or weaken your prose. It’s popular these days to use natural language that speaks to current culture, but you may want to stay away from using too many words that are limited in their universal understanding. For example, I have to often ask my 15-year-old granddaughter to define a term used in the hip hop world. It simply doesn’t translate!
Determine if your memoir is a passion, a product or both!
A memoir is a story based on the author’s life. Slices of life can be meaningful to the author, and insightful to readers, but do they sell? There are three types: an anthology of life stories, a short book, and a personal essay. Each form is distinctive and comes with its unique characteristics. Determine if your memoir is marketable before you take the dive to avoid disappointment.
The “right” grammar is a matter of great importance. All styles are not created equal. As any avid reader of the Holy Bible can tell you, the various translations have everything to do with the receptivity of the message. Here are two devices to consider:
Ruh-roh! Zoinks! Humbug! Bada bing! Zowee! Holy Hole in a Doughnut, Batman!
Many of our all-time favorite characters’ dialogue is full of interjections. In fact, the familiarity of a particular interjection becomes a part of the identity of each character. Computer programmers have even picked on this device: “Oops! The page you’re looking for seems to be missing.”
An interjection is literally throwing a word or phrase in between sentences or thoughts to signify your feelings. It’s a word bomb to attract the reader’s attention. In text “world” it’s like an emoji…use it for emphasis and interest, but don’t overuse. Set your interjection off as a separate sentence with an exclamation point or question mark.
Antithesis literally means “opposite.” It’s used by writers and speakers to compare two opposite ideas to achieve a contrasting effect.
The Biblical book of Proverbs is filled with these type of statements. For example, proverbs 15:17: “Better a bread crust shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hate.”
One of the most famous examples came from boxing great, Muhammad Ali: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
The antithesis is a powerful device that, when used well, causes the listener to reexamine and often revise their thinking about a subject. Another great example: “We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Your use of antithesis statements must be well crafted and not trivial. When this device occurs naturally it will have more impact.