How do you touch the Reader’s Psyche?
June 16, 2016
HERE IS A NIFTY TECHNIQUE to give your writing style more impact: Structure your sentences so the most powerful word comes at the end. The last word touches the reader’s psyche more than any other, so make it count.
Short, evocative nouns, adjectives and verbs are best. Here’s a list for your inspiration: death, dead, kiss, lust, treachery, blood, fear, die, kill, deep, cold, heat, dark, boil, pull, grave, grip, grasp, hope, sear, scream, thrill, scar, bone, flesh, skull, wound, pray, pain, soul, child, flee, trap, teeth, curse, escape, safe, love.
These words, on the other hand, have no particular effect: it, then, them, across, through, there, somehow, around, under, of, off, for, that, be, others, his, her.
Often, restructuring the sentence is all it takes, or perhaps adding, deleting or replacing one word.
She knew she had to kill it.
She knew she had to kill.
She had a painful headache.
Pain pounded in her skull.
He felt the pain then.
Then he felt the pain.
A child was in there.
In there was a child.
I recommend backloading the last sentence of most paragraphs – but only if it suits the contents. If possible, backload the last sentence of every scene, because that’s where the impact is greatest.
Try it with some sentences in your manuscript, and post the “before” and “after” versions as a comment.