Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little

Christopher Johnson

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 039334181X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little

Christopher Johnson

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 039334181X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“A work of pop linguistics . . . [that] synthesizes . . . grammar, branding, cognitive science and Web theory . . . with intelligence and friendly wit.”―New York Times

Welcome to the age of the incredible shrinking message. Your guide to this new landscape, Christopher Johnson reveals the once-secret knowledge of poets, copywriters, brand namers, political speechwriters, and other professional verbal miniaturists. Each chapter discusses one tool that helps short messages grab attention, communicate instantly, stick in the mind, and roll off the tongue. Piled high with examples from corporate slogans to movie titles to product names, Microstyle shows readers how to say the most with the least, while offering a lively romp through the historic transformation of mass media into the media of the personal.

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The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing

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Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

happens to the air during that journey makes the music of your speech. As the air passes through your larynx, you can tighten your vocal folds so they vibrate. The vibration makes the resonant sound that forms the basis of singing and of vowels, the hearts of syllables. Then your tongue and lips and other parts of your mouth and throat form obstructions that change frequencies in the sound and introduce noisy turbulence and brief silences to the sound to give it a kind of shape. Linguists have

correlation, of course, reflects short-term perceptions among investors, not long-term company performance, but still, that’s not bad for a few letters, is it? Chapters 10–13 discuss different ways to make messages easier and nicer to pronounce and hear. 10 KEEP IT SIMPLE There’s nothing complicated about keeping the sound of your message simple. First, it should be easy to figure out what the sound is from the spelling. Second, it should be easy to pronounce. Third, it should be

and consonance occur in slogans: BETTER BUILT, BETTER BACKED (Mitsubishi) BAYER WORKS WONDERS FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES (United Airlines) RELAX, IT’S FEDEX LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US (Greyhound) REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE (AT&T) MILK, IT DOES A BODY GOOD. (National Dairy Board) TIPPECANOE AND TYLER, TOO! (William Henry Harrison’s 1840 campaign slogan) Alliteration is also used in corporate mantras, such as Nike’s AUTHENTIC ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE and Target’s

conversational, the first questions that pop into my mind are, “Who is speaking?” and “Who is being addressed?” For some of the best slogans, these questions are hard to answer—or rather, they can be answered in different ways. The slogan IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID was not originally intended for voters. Rather, it was used to rally people working on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. In that context, it’s possible to see the slogan as a self-deprecating phrase. If you were a campaign worker, you might

say it to yourself while slapping yourself on the forehead, or you could imagine Bill Clinton saying it to himself. When the slogan gained popular traction, though, it seemed to taunt George H. W. Bush. It was innocent on the face of it, but it carried a barbed message. A similarly ambiguous corporate slogan is Nike’s JUST DO IT. This might be Nike telling you to get off your butt and go for a run. It could be you telling yourself the same thing. Or it could express the thoughts of an elite

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