Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Writing to Persuade

The following blog entry has info that would be helpful to the GFWG, both as writers and as those critiquing others' writing. Below are my excerpts but definitely check out the original post.

Writing to Persuade: Convince People With Your Pen
by Matthew Johnson

The main objective of persuasion is to convince – you may be trying to convince someone to do something, to think something, or both…. Persuasive Writing …. gets into the head of the author, and he or she explains their opinion about something. Not only is an opinion stated, they are also attempting to either change the reader’s mind about the subject, or to reinforce an already held opinion.

Getting Others On Your Side
Writers whose job it is to persuade must do more than just say “I’m right,” or “Buy this,” they have to appeal to the readers in different ways. Changing someone’s mind about something requires more than just being the loudest or the most abrasive – there needs to be some thought put into it...
Appeal to Logic Logic makes use of facts and figures to appeal to someone’s sense of reason. The use of logic in persuasion is meant to keep out any emotion and anger when appealing to a reader, not just on the writer’s side, but they also want to prevent the reader from getting too worked up, as well. Not only does it prevent negativity from creeping into the discussion, it also lends an air of credibility when a writer can back up their claims with hard facts. Logic is useful when used in dealing with more controversial matters…
Appeal to Emotions More broad and easier to understand than an appeal to logic, the use of emotion in persuasion is very effective. Great care must be taken when using this approach, however, as credibility may easily be lost if the emotional appeal is poorly executed. If an emotional appeal lacks substance, the reader may feel manipulated and alienated, but when done well, especially when combined with logical appeals, it can be quite effective.
Appeal to Ethics Using ethos in persuasive writing requires a credible writer (and sources) for it to be effective. Not only must what they say be true and able to be proven, but the reader must see the writer in the best possible light for the message to take hold. An example of an appeal to ethics would be to convince a family member to stop smoking because of the effects of secondhand smoke on the rest of the family and the pets.

Writing Techniques
…. Good reasoning, ethics, or a well thought out emotional appeal aren’t enough – they must be presented in a manner that ensures that the message takes hold in the reader, and the following techniques are just some of the tricks persuasive writers rely on.
Repetition Not only must a point be made several times in order to be persuasive, but it must be made in different ways. The repetition makes it stick in their head, and the different approaches keep the subject matter from getting stale to the reader.
Agitate and Solve This technique is meant to create empathy in the reader. The writer first works up the reader, mentioning a problem that will get a reaction, then tells the reader that they understand and are able to solve it.
Storytelling Ideally, all other persuasion techniques culminate in this one. If you can deftly blend other techniques while simultaneously telling a compelling story, you’ll be the most persuasive person on the block.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Work in Progress Update--Syrl Kazlo

My current project is a “cozy” mystery novel. The working title is Kibbles and Death, A Samantha Davies Mystery. Sam is a 50ish, divorced freelance writer, who, with her dachshund, Porkchop, stumbles on the body of the not-so-lovable animal shelter owner, Calvin Cobbs. When Frank Gilbert, boyfriend of her nosy neighbor Gladys O’Malley, is accused of the murder, Sam gets involved in proving who done it. 

In this genre, all the sex and violence occur off screen or should I saw are only alluded to. Its audience is mainly women and they often contain, what I call, a lot of fluff. Sam has a love of designer purses and '50s era music.

This work is a complete departure from the children’s novels I usually write. It has been a challenge as children’s literature follows a completely different set of writing rules. But as  I  read more and more “cozy" mysteries I found myself drawn into the fun and humor so often found in them. Fleshing out my writing and adding a sense of “place” has been a challenge.

The critiques from this group are invaluable to my writing. They are my “nuggets of gold.” They help me strengthen my writing and push me to write a better piece. They keep me on my literary toes for any inconsistencies  I may have written and improve the flow of my story.  The GFWG members really care about what we write and want us to pen the best work we can. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Work in Progress Update--Adam Hoffman

I am currently working on compiling haiku with aspirations of publishing a book. As of writing this I have approximately 200 rough drafts, some of which are true haiku and some simply very short poems. Along with editing I am sorting the haiku into themes like family, people, animal and nature types (trees, flowers, night, etc.).

I have always loved brief poems and the white space around them. I believe it is that space which allows the reader to take an active part in the poetry and that sort of collaboration fascinates me. The other aspect of haiku that speaks to me is finding the intersection between nature and human nature. I see that as one of the roots of our humanity.

My audience is myself. That may be narcissistic and counterproductive to selling books, but I write for me. I'm not trying to be popular or successful. Writing is my brain and soul's exercise. If others enjoy it ... beautiful. I'm happy to share.

Writing haiku comes very naturally to me. Calling it easy would be a stretch, but I don't experience the dreadful mind cramps I get while editing other forms. There are set rules (something my mind craves) and it's obvious when a haiku doesn't work. I especially love the process by which I create haiku. I simply walk around with my notebook and write about anything poignant.  

The Glens Falls Writer's Group plays a crucial part in this process. It provides and excellent measuring stick. Meeting twice a month allows me to tack my work quantitatively. As far as critiques, I am looking mostly for how much and what did the work evoke in the reader. It's also interesting to see which were received well and which fell flat, though that's often a very personal and subjective thing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Trapped in the Iron Maiden--Megan Taylor

GFWG member Megan Taylor had this to say in her graduate program's blog:

"For the last year, my body's felt like it's been trapped inside its own iron maiden..."

Check out the rest here.

P.S.--Megan told us at the last meeting that she has an essay coming up in the Cactus Heart online literary magazine so we look forward to seeing that when it's out!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Works in Progress Update--Sandy Buxton

As a way to document some of the efforts of the Glens Falls Writers Group, Kay asked me to talk about my current works in progress. Traditionally, I have written small memoir pieces with a little fiction thrown in. But all have been relatively short and in need of more development (both character and story).

My current projects are ambitious by my standards.

First, the group is currently critiquing my Beginner’s Guide to Orchids. As a relatively new grower, I know it is presumptuous but I have also been the newsletter editor for our local orchid society for 5.5 years. That position has given me tremendous opportunities to interview and glean nuggets from experts from all over, both U.S. and abroad.

I hope to be able to shed some light on the mysteries of orchid growing and encourage people to successfully enjoy these wonderous plants.

The flow is one of the tough parts of this project. Everything is so intertwined – light, water, fertilizer, humidity and pests – I feel like I am repeating myself all the time. But some of that is necessary. We will see how it goes and what the group thinks.

My second project is a fiction piece – science fiction I guess. An adventure series showing some cool things about science in agriculture. Hopefully, it will be ready to review when the orchid book is complete.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

She's Back...

Hi all! It's me, Kay Hafner, aka Fearless Leader, back from extended hiatus (master's degree and other distractions!) to take the reins again as moderator/cheerleader. Thanks to Zack for keeping things going in my absence.

I'm looking forward to getting back into things andseeing what goals and challenges we can set, for the members as well as the group. Let me know what you'd like to see from the group in the future!

Also, if you haven't already Liked us on Facebook, we can be found under Glens Falls Writers Group there. (

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

May 1 -- Glens Falls Writer's Group

Hey Glens Falls Writers Group peoples!
       Well, this Thursday May 1st, which means there's another meeting, 7:00 at the Crandall library. Be there.
       Annnnnd, although I won't be there, nobody volunteered to take over the prompts email. So, I'll do it this week, and also remind you: put it on the dang meeting agenda to get someone to volunteer (or decide you don't need it) for next time. Whoever is doing it, contact me and/or Kay for any help you need.
      Anyhow. Here ya go with some prompts. Enjoy!
1. A crew of air ship pirates must escape Her Magesty's Flying Navy, through deceit.
2. a parasite overtakes a new host, but instead of a full takeover however, tries to negotiate a deal for co-habitation...
3. Six people are left onboard but there's only one more parachute.
4. You walk into your house and it’s completely different–furniture, decor, all changed. And nobody’s home.
5. Describe the room you are in right now in detail. As well as visual, think of things like smells, temperature, sounds, touch, memories, etc.
6. While swimming, your protagonist goes underwater only to emerge in a completely different place from where they started
7. A man's relationship with a spirit who is in love with him. He only talks to her through a medium who is his girlfriend.