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How to Become a Writer-Salesman

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"In the writing craft we call this condition 'Verbosity.' Vapid, weak, uninteresting words are used far too much and far too often in conveying an idea. The untrained writer is unconscious of the suggestive power of a few rightly chosen words. The trained writer, conscious of their power, leaves them stand alone, like lighthouses on the sea. As Brisbane says, 'The art of writing consists in saying a hundred words that will cause the reader to think a thousand.' 'A little drop of ink may make a million think.'

Self Praise is Resented or Discounted

"The less you speak of your greatness, the more I shall think of it."—Lord Bacon.

"The next fault of which we find an untrained writer guilty (this rules in advertising, only, of course) is that of praising his product, instead of putting the reader in such a position that he will praise that product. "We are all pretty well aware of the truth and force of the old proverb, 'Self-praise is no recommendation,' yet in advertising, at least, most writers seem to forget that the principle holds as true there as it does anywhere else—self-praise of the article or service being sold either sickens the reader, or brings about a condition of frank disbelief. This frame of mind is avoided if certain facts in relation to the article are stated in such a manner that a deduction must be in- evitably drawn by the reader, in favor of the advertiser. "By this method an article may be described and highly praised without a word of praise being inscribed in the manuscript itself. The praise is written where it should be, on the brain of the reader, and the praise comes from the source it should, i. e., the reader himself.

Claims Are Not Proofs

"Wine and the sun will make vinegar without any shouting to help them."—George Eliot.

"The third fault of the untrained writer lies in the ostrich-like proclivity he has of taking belief for granted. He seems to feel that his statements will be implicitly believed, consequently he claims everything, but proves nothing, and consequently again, he convinces only about three per cent of the hundred per cent of people that he goes to.

Uncrystallized Thought

"Clearness is the ornament of profound thought." —Vauvenargues.

"The fourth fault of the untrained writer lies in his failure to accurately reflect his whole thought on the paper before him, the essence of his thought is somehow lost between brain and paper.

"This is why we very often find a good speaker is a bad writer. The man who can talk well is accustomed to expressing his thoughts by the fluent flow of tongue rather than the slow process of hand. Place pen and paper before such a man and you will and his flow of thought obstructed by the brake of physical effort necessarily experienced in photographing his entire thought, his exact thought, and every shade of his thought, on paper, so that its light will reflect, in turn, into the dark recesses of the other man's brain, and thus enlighten him.

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