When was the last time you stayed up too late with a book, telling yourself, “Just one more chapter”?
Chances are, you flipped ahead to see how many pages that would take, and then got sucked in and kept reading anyway. Did you know it’s possible to reverse-engineer this compulsive page-turning awesomeness into your own writing?!?
The technique is called backloading, and it’s all about making things end powerfully: sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters…
For example, you might have a sentence like: “The smell of hyacinth reminded him of her.”
Which is fine. It evokes both scent and memory for the reader. But notice how the sentence ends: “…of her.” Is “her” a power-word?
So which word from that sentence is strongest?
“The smell of hyacinth reminded him of her.”
Hyacinth. It’s unusual. It stands out. And it’s evocative.
The technique of backloading allows us to objectively identify weak sentences (try scanning the last word of every paragraph on your page), and then reorganize those sentences to instead end with your power-word.
Rather than “The smell of hyacinth reminded him of her,” we might wind up with, “She flooded his memory as quickly as the scent of hyacinth.”
Feel the difference a little word placement can make?
It’s your turn. Pull out your Work-In-Progress and have a quick look for ending words, especially those at the ends of paragraphs, scenes and chapters. Pick out your weakest link and take a stab at backloading. I’d love to see what you accomplish… just click below to share with me.
It’s time for you to revise with joy!
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