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.
…. 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.