Crafting an effective piece of persuasive writing is a bit of a balancing act.

Be too direct and risk boring your readers by leaving nothing to the imagination. However be too ambiguous and your reader is left second guessing and will switch off eventually.

Instead, you need to get the balance right: allow your reader to ‘work’ just enough to keep her on her toes but not too much so that she’s thinking, where on earth is this going?!

David Stuart illustrates this brilliantly in his ball-throwing analogy. As Lindsay Camp explains in his (very persuasive) book, Can I Change Your Mind?: The Craft and Art of Persuasive Writing:

If you and I stand a metre apart and I throw a ball to you very gently, you will almost certainly catch it. If, on the other hand, you stand 30 metres away, and I chuck the ball as high in the air as I can, catching it will be a lot harder. But which catch will be a more rewarding experience? Which will you be more likely to remember?

Good writing is about judging how hard to make the catch.

 

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Photo by Jason Devaun/Flickr/CC BY 2.0