Saturday 27 August 2016

Secret Writing Techniques

Secret Writing Technique #4
by Deborah Owen

Re-blog from:

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Almost all literature attempts to influence the reader. Your strong beliefs will do more than taint your work. Unless you are deliberately arguing both sides of a cause, your inner person will scream its viewpoint in everything you write. Is that wrong? No. But but there are right and wrong ways to present your theories.

Emotions are one of the greatest tools for screaming, and certainly one of the best tools you will ever use to argue your case and convince your audience to your way of thinking.

You have probably used pathos a number of times, but did not realize it. Every time you expressed emotions such as sympathy, pity or fear through a character's gestures or graphics, you were reaching out to form an emotional bond with your reader and, whether deliberately or accidentally, you promoted your own opinions through your character.

When you choose to reach your audience through tender sensations, think long and deep about an earlier time in your life when that emotion existed. By reliving part of real life, you will feed your memories, which helps transfer that feeling and frame of mind to your reader. Poetry and music are two very good mediums for pathos.

Examples of pathos:
  • "You should consider another route. I heard that that street is far more dangerous and ominous at night than during the daytime."
  • "I’m not just invested in this community – I love every building, every business, every hard-working member of this town."

Think of ethos as an ethical appeal that convinces the reader on the basis of the speaker's credibility.
  • "As a doctor, I am qualified to tell you that this course of treatment will likely generate the best results."
  • "He is a forensics and ballistics expert for the federal government – if anyone’s qualified to determine the murder weapon, it’s him."


Think of logos as a logical argument to convince your reader.
  • "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: we have not only the fingerprints, the lack of an alibi, a clear motive, and an expressed desire to commit the robbery… We also have video of the suspect breaking in. The case could not be more open and shut." 
  • "You don’t need to jump off a bridge to know that it’s a bad idea. Why then would you need to try drugs to know if they’re damaging? That’s plain nonsense."

The easiest way to remember this set of triplets is like this:

Pathos – emotional persuasion
Ethos – ethical persuasion
Logos – logical persuasion

** Examples taken from Your Dictionary:

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