Take a tip from Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens famously used balance to introduce A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …
To create balance, you might steal a tip from Dickens and:
1. Repeat and reverse.
|Start with your original idea||Repeat and reverse|
|It was the best of times.||It was the worst of times.|
|It was the age of wisdom.||It was the age of foolishness.|
|It was the epoch of belief.||It was the epoch of incredulity.|
|It was the season of Light.||It was the season of Darkness.|
|It was the spring of hope.||It was the winter of despair.|
2. Add don’t or not before the second phrase.
|Start with your original idea||Add don’t or not and repeat|
|If you aren’t willing to own a |
stock for 10 years …
|… don’t even think about owning |
it for 10 minutes.
|We are here to make money |
with you …
|… not off of you.|
|I bear a message of challenge …||… not self-congratulation.|
|I want your attention …||… not your applause.|
3. Add and or so before the second phrase.
|Start with your original idea||Add so, and or as well and repeat|
|If you suffer …||… we will suffer|
|If we prosper …||… so will you.|
|This printer will resonate with |
the CFO …
|… as much as it does with |
How can you surprise and delight readers?
Neurologists call it “the pleasure of the text,” the reward readers get from figuring out figurative language. (It can be quite a reward: If your wordplay is funny enough, your readers’ brains even deliver a little dose of dopamine.)
Learn to tap wordplay’s superpowers at Master the Art of Storytelling, our business-storytelling workshop starting July 11.
There, you’ll learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub sound-alikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words with free online tools that do the work for you. You’ll get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines. And you’ll polish your skills in a wordplay workout, with recipes from anagram to oxymoron.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.