Tool 2 ~ Order Words for Emphasis

This tool almost sounds contradictory to Tool #1.

“Place strong words at the beginning and at the end.”

But then Clark describes this concept as a train. Stick verbs and nouns at the front of to be the engine and the coal car . . . and leave the most important detail for the end–the caboose. Then it makes sense to me.

Also, perhaps you’ve heard of this rule before, but I haven’t: the 2-3-1 tool of emphasis. Clark’s summary? “Put your best stuff near the beginning and at the end; hide the weaker stuff in the middle” (17).

This tool can be used in quotations–the boring attribution slides into the middle–and in news stories and  essays. Begin the lead with something slightly interesting, jam some boring stuff in the middle, and close the paragraph with an intriguing tidbit. It keeps the reader wanting to read more.

I wonder if this concept works for chapter books.

This last example is one of my favorites. Shakespeare exhibits this tool perfectly in Macbeth: “The Queen, my lord, is dead.”


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