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  1. Compson

    Compson New Member

    Apr 3, 2014
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    Deeper Construction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Compson, Apr 3, 2014.

    Let me start off by saying I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for but...

    I work as a political pollster. Basically, I write short political arguments or biographical narratives, then we survey several hundred people and ask how convincing they are.

    I'm still in the early stages of my career and I've never been a natural writer, nor did I study English in college, so I'm looking for some resources that may help me break down the components of these paragraphs and help me write more powerful rhetoric. While I'm not a high-end writer, I am good at recognizing patterns, and hoping I can use that skill to my advantage.

    I wouldn't mind a text that was extremely technical in its deconstruction and explanation of sentences. Or maybe I'm looking for something else. I've looked into books on linguistics but I'm not convinced that is what I'm after.

    Any suggestions? Thanks.

  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    I don't have an answer for you (sorry :(), I'm just letting you know that I moved your thread to a subforum where it will get more of the right kind of foot-traffic. ;)
  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    Read short political arguments and biographical narratives written by other writers, and learn from them. That's the only thing I can think of.
  4. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    Your post doesn't give much to go on, but you could try these:

    Notes Toward a New Rhetoric, by Francis Christensen and Bonniejean Christensen

    Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, by Virginia Tufte

    Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, by Brooks Landon (a course offered by The Teaching Company)
  5. David K. Thomasson

    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

    Feb 26, 2013
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    Lynchburg, Virginia
    I've made my living, and still do, at the sort of writing you describe -- short (and long) political arguments to persuade people. That includes editorials, op-ed columns, speeches, project descriptions, and funding proposals, to name a few. So I'll offer a couple of suggestions.

    Distinguish between clarity and persuasion (rhetoric), and learn them separately.

    You can't persuade anyone of anything if you can't write clearly, so start with that. I recommend this book and this book. The second is my favorite, though both authors teach essentially the same principles. I learned more from George Gopen in a month or so than I had learned in the previous 20 years of writing for pay.

    For the persuasive part, I don't know of any shortcuts. Rhetoric goes clear back to Aristotle. You can Google for books on rhetoric, but there's a lot more to it. Study advertising and marketing, because both require you to get at people's psychology -- their emotions and motivations. To persuade anyone of anything, that's where you have to go. This is one book worth buying and studying.
  6. Bryan Romer

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Look up books and courses on writing propaganda.

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