Here’s an experiment: Can you tell me the difference between these two sentences?
The internet game is the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced. I’ve left the country, left behind my old life, came back, and went through countless failures but the internet game is a true challenge of yourself.
I’ve left the country, left behind my old life, came back, and went through countless failures but the internet game is a true challenge of yourself. The internet game is the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced.
If you can’t tell the difference between the 2 quotes above then you’re probably making this mistake I’ve made for years.
This tip is something I picked up from Chuck Palahniuk 36 writing essays. It’s the one tip that I know of that will instantly make you a better speaker, a better writer, and a more interesting person.
I gave it name it’s called, The speaking in conclusions syndrome. Once you know about it, you will see it everywhere.
The first quote is a prime example of speaking in conclusions. I gave away the meat and bread of the point within the first sentence. “The internet game is the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced” should not start any sentence. That line should be put at the end for emphasis.
In the second quote, there is a build up to the point. In the 2nd quote you can’t tell where I’m leading you until the end. That’s when I write the conclusion.
How to Avoid Speaking or Writing in Conclusions
What I do is write it out and then go back and find conclusion statements that are in the beginning–and move those to the end or delete them.
The next step
Find the conclusion statements and then ‘visually’ or emotionally unpack them. “The internet game is the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced.”
Unpack that sentence. You have to show and tell. The sentence above doesn’t make you visualize anything. It’s abstract and has no punch.
I could make it have more impact by adding, “I’ve dragged my feet through mud–covered in failure and misery. I’ve pulled myself out of a black hole vortex of negativity. I’ve lived and breathed the air of another country and seen that those people aren’t much different than me…”
You see the difference?
I unpacked the conclusions and added visual imagery. I showed you something. I didn’t even have to say, “I’ve been though tough times.” <--that's a conclusion statement with no imagery.
When to unpack and when to not
You don’t have to unpack every sentence. If you went to the store bought bread and came back, there is not much reason to unpack that statement.
But if you went to the store and something happened along the way, then you would unpack that statement and add visual imagery or emotion to your words.
It’s up to you to decide what sentences to unpack.
Quality vs Quantity
When I’m drafting and machine-gunning out ideas I don’t add visual imagery until later. Unpacking every statement when you draft is a waste of time because you will spend too much time unpacking every sentence when it doesn’t need to be unpacked.
And if you’ve followed my writing long enough you know, that when I publish and article I will think of the perfect thing to say after I publish it. Sometimes I will save it for later, sometimes I will add that to the post.
Hit publish then the details will come
The point is you always want to be moving and not get too deep into the details. The perfect thing will come after you hit publish. Just like you will think of the perfect thing to say after an argument. If you’re a perfectionist then you will love this technique.
If you like to write and just want to get started blogging and writing better, this technique will add color to your writing.
Even in your everyday speech, notice how everyone speaks in conclusions when they tell a story. Often the best story tellers use visual imagery and leave the conclusions for the end. This gives the story more impact and can leave people hanging on your every word.