If you want your reader to really remember something, to think about an idea afresh, or simply to stop and take note, then summarise your point in the simplest, clearest, shortest words possible. Short sentences add emphasis. Then say the same thing again — but this time as an extended simile or metaphor. (The two are basically the same – both are comparisons – but similes contain the words ‘like’ or ‘as’, and metaphors don’t.) It’s like wine-tasting notes. First, you sum up your opinion of the wine, then you explain: ‘This wine is seriously lively. Zingy, herbaceous notes of lime and green apple ripen to passion fruit and peach.’ Then you hit the reader with the exotic, memorable and revelatory comparison. ‘It’s like licking sunshine off a gooseberry bush.’
11 April 2018
Mix up long sentences for detailed analysis explanation with short, punchy ones for emphasis.
Connect with your writerly self and try thinking about your writing in the way that professional writers do.
Next time you are about to throw that double-glazing brochure in the recycling bin, stop. It is worth studying how the language and look have been crafted.