Updated: Jan 13
Many writers use parallel structures in their writing, but the best writers give it a twist. This means that you start with a pattern. It is always beneficial to jot down the points that you want to make first. Go as far as creating a grid to show the parallel structure in your thoughts and ideas. Make a note of your key points and then line them up and see if they flow. Then, choose one sentence or phrase within a sentence different from the rest. The good news is you catch your reader's attention. The even better news is that you don't have to change the meaning of anything that you write. Instead, you are creating a "drumline of persuasion" as Roy Peter Clark calls it in his book, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
What areParallel Structures?
So what exactly am I talking about here? Well, Clark points out some distinct parallel structures with twists. He uses a speech by the one and only Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the "king" or oration, and parallel arrangements. Lookup any King speech, and you will know what I am referring to. But just in case you don't, take for example, the "Let Freedom Ring" speech. King starts off by using adjectives to describe northern state landmarks: "Let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom right from the mighty mountains of New York," and so on. But, as soon as he starts to tell us about the segregated southern states, he switches up the parallel structure: "Let freedom ring from the Lookout Mountains of Tennessee... From every mountainside, let freedom ring." See the switch? Pretty powerful stuff!
I am going to give you some simple examples of parallel structure with a twist that Clark mentions as well:
"Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll"
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"
"Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost"
Two parallels meet a twist.
So how can you apply this method in your marketing? Well, for starters, blog posts that contain parallel structures and then a twist ad variety to what could be a "dryer" topic. For instance, let's pretend you are an up and coming accountant that wants to go into business for himself. You have no idea how to market yourself, but you are really good at numbers. First, generate a search for top accounting words. Here is a line that you could use to help promote your company:
Need assistance filing your income tax to get the best tax return possible? Call Harold Greenly, CPA today!
Not only did I use three key phrases: income tax, tax return, and CPA, I managed to establish a pattern in the first sentence, and then gave it a twist in structure and sentence-style. The first sentence is interrogative and includes the word "tax" twice. The second sentence is short, concise, and imperative in construction to present a call to action.
What is your call to action? How can you establish a pattern, and then give it a twist? Need help? Submit your request for a FREE CONSULTATION with me today!
Clark, R. P. (2008). Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Columbus, GA: Little, Brown.