Winston Churchill knew a thing or three about the high-stakes game of persuasive writing. Here is his well-honed advice:
If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.
English schoolmaster Henry Watson Fowler (1858-1933) and his brother, the writer Francis George Fowler (1871-1918), devoted their lives to encouraging people to write more clearly and directly. If you don’t have time to read their intimidating (but wonderful) book “Modern English Usage,” here’s a maxim to keep posted beside your computer:
Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.
Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) was an American poet and political activist. And I suppose it would take a poet to express such a profound thought in so few words:
The world is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of stories.