Write it the way you’d tell it

Here’s a fascinating TED Talk about the impact texting is having on our language. You’ll be surprised.


Writers can learn from this. The best journalistic stories aren’t written in texting shorthand, but they’re not written in formal, English class prose either. They’re told. Think of how you would tell a friend what happened. Then write it that way.

Here’s the opening to a story we reported in 2011 about one of the bravest men we’ve ever met. Note the short sentences, simple language as we quickly build suspense.

To understand Isaac’s motivation for reaching people for Christ in northern Sudan, you have to understand the power of grace. And you need to hear about something awful that happened in 1983.

Isaac was 22. His brother, Kabouji, was 33. Their family was Sunni Muslim, as is most of northern Sudan. But Kabouji met a Christian pastor that year and became a follower of Christ.

At first, Isaac hated his brother for embracing Christ. Gradually, though, Kabouji talked with him and convinced him to place his faith in Christ, too. Isaac kept quiet about that at first, as Kabouji continued to boldly speak of his Christian faith among family and friends.

A month later, Kabouji paid.

You can read what happened here.



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