April 28, 2017

Vital statistics

Numbers bring concreteness and color to your copy

How big is big? How fast is fast? Statistics help you quantify and specify your message.

Vital statistics

Paint by numbers Statistics help make your copy more colorful. Image by Andy Maguire

Here are three examples, from stories I recently edited for a client:

1. How big is big?

If your point is “big,” then make that point with numbers and details. (By the way, Wikipedia is a great place to get statistical details about a city.)

Research time: 15 minutes.

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Related stories

“If you want to be credible, be specific. … Heinz doesn’t have a ‘multitude’ of varieties; it has 57. Bressler’s doesn’t have a ‘whole lot’ of flavors; it has 33. There aren’t ‘many’ deadly sins; there are seven. Well, eight, if you count vague writing.”
— Doug Williams, a principal in Tomasini-W2K, a marketing, public relations, public affairs and training company

Color Them Fascinated

Rivet readers with juicy details

Fun facts and juicy details might seem like the Cheez Doodles and Cronuts of communication: tempting, for sure, but a little childish and not particularly good for you.

Add color

Add color Learn how to use specific concrete details to make your story memorable and stand out from the rest. Image by kasiQ kmjw

Not so. Concrete details are more like salad dressing and aioli — the secret sauces it takes to get the nutritious stuff down.

Call it “The Vividness Effect.” It’s been proven in the lab again and again: Colorful details communicate better than dry, abstract information.

At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day creative-writing master class on Feb. 23-24 in Los Angeles, and on Sept. 25-26 in New York — you’ll learn how to rivet readers with juicy details.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Show and tell: Help readers understand your big ideas by way of your specific details.
  • Play it SAFE: Six ways to add color to your message.
  • Write like a roller coaster: Are you losing them in the middle? Test your message so you can spot and fix the boring parts.
  • Write to be read: Where to sprinkle “gold coins” throughout your message to keep readers engaged.
  • Go from blah to brilliant in 15 minutes or less: Quick ways to add concrete detail to even the most tedious topics.

This is the only creative-writing workshop we have planned in Los Angeles in 2017. Don’t miss out on your chance to master creative-writing in LA! Register now.

“I feel invigorated and excited about writing again. I like that you incorporated participation, so we could immediately put into practice what you were teaching.”
— Danielle Rush, communication specialist, Indiana University Kokomo

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in Los Angeles: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in Los Angeles on Feb. 23-24, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Las Vegas on March 22-23, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's Tight Writing workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 6-7, 2017
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Chicago on May 18-19, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Boston on June 19-20, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's tight-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017
Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017
Register for Catch Your Readers in Dallas: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Dallas on Oct. 16-17
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Boston: June 19-20
  • Chicago: May 18-19
  • Dallas: Oct. 16-17
  • Des Moines: Feb. 8
  • Fresno, CA: Jan. 24
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Las Vegas: March 22-23
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 23-24
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-16
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18
  • Washington, D.C.: April 6-7

Keep up with my calendar.