5 optical illusions to enhance your writing

The eyes have it! Proper visual presentation will attract readers and keep them reading.

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What do these three facts have in common? They are all optical illusions. Illusions are important in writing, too. A piece that looks great will read better than one that is visually dull or confusing.

I’m old enough to have attended college when students commonly submitted essays written by hand. But even back in those dark, pre-computer ages, I learned pretty quickly that typewriting my work guaranteed a grade that was at least 10 points higher!

Anyone who doesn’t pay attention to presentation is like the college student who insists on scrawling by hand—or the chef who slaves over a luscious five-star meal and then slops it onto a blue plastic plate.

Here’s the good news: It’s easy to improve your writing presentation.

Let me give you five simple tricks:

1. Use short paragraphs. When I was in seventh grade, Sister Miriam Claire tried to convince us that paragraphs were defined by their content. She used scary terms such as “topic sentence” and “unity” and “coherence.” Then, when I became a journalist, I learned a much easier rule: Paragraphs have nothing to do with content—they are simply a visual tool.

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