I was luxuriating in an email from a favourite writer the other day.

Her words sizzled, crackled and sparkled off the screen.

That takes some doing, given the numbness with which I read most incoming missives.

It got me to thinking about some elements that make a great message:

  • Short sentences, long pauses. Give us time to breathe
  • Use emotive adjectives. Thesaurus points us to Peachy, Wonderful, Estimable, Exquisite and Virtuoso instead of merely Great
  • Try alternative verbs. Chowing Down, Munching, Gobbling and Wolfing usurp merely Eating for eye and brain candy
  • Look for inventive metaphors. “Waves of spam inundated my inbox” beats “I get lots of junk mail”
  • Tell a story. The more intense, surprising or plain weird, the better. Just make sure it’s on point for your core message!
  • Ask questions, then answer them. Even “Guess What?” make the reader go, yes, what?
  • Most important: don’t break basic rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling. That stuff still DOES matter, and you’ll lose creds if you’re off-point.

Here’s to your sizzling prose!

Jonny

Spread the love