Writing Hacks: Strengthen Your Writing by Transforming Negative Descriptions into Positive Descriptions

Language is a technology. It’s a particularly strange one that’s made of squiggles and sounds and maps of meaning, but like any other technology, it’s hackable. So’s writing.

Often we describe things in the negative. This affects tone and rhythm. When you’re stuck in a rut of negative description, think about getting across the same content with positive language. It might open up your work.

From the inimitable Kathy Steinemann:

Negative: Wren plodded into the kitchen. She had never liked cooking, especially when it involved feeding strangers she barely knew. It wasn’t fair.

Focusing on the negative is like writing with a downbeat. But what if it’s written like this:

Positive: Wren strolled into the kitchen. Four for dinner. Best way to impress them would be to prepare a memorable meal, right? Internet recipes. Mom on speed dial. She could do this.

Same content. Stronger spin. Here are more examples:

Negative: Professor Watkins scratched his beard. “The latest statistics don’t support many of the initial conclusions. However, there isn’t much research available.”

The professor might be conflicted or concerned, as demonstrated by his beard scratching.  Don’t and isn’t add to the negativity.

Less negative: Professor Watkins stroked his beard. “The latest statistics support few of the initial conclusions. However, much more research is necessary.”

The edited version contains negative words, but they’re less noticeable.

Negative: Zach glowered at me. “The problem is that nobody listens to me, least of all you.”

Is it possible to remove most of the negatives but retain the tension?

Less negative: Zach swallowed, hard, and gazed at me. “I need to be acknowledged, especially by you.”

The first passage gives us an angry Zach. The second Zach seems wounded or disappointed.

More from Kathy Steineman here!

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — Despite multiple bankruptcies, RadioShack continues to find ways to keep the lights on

Wearables — Molding with glue

Electronics — A few words on inductor resistance

Biohacking — Running Blades

Python for Microcontrollers — Help bring CircuitPython to other languages!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.