rainingDeep emo­tions almost always come as two-parters: emo­tions cen­tered on loss, trans­for­ma­tion, or full­fil­ment & redemp­tion all require a before and after. You have to show what a per­son had BEFORE in order to hit your audi­ence with the sense of what was lost AFTER.

This is why war movies always have a scene where the about-to-be-killed char­ac­ter shows his pic­ture of his girl back home and tells his bud­dies what he’s going to do after the war. The direc­tor is set­ting you up to feel the loss when the poor sap gets mowed down.

Among fic­tion writ­ers this before and after for­mat is known as a set-up and pay-off, and this two-part combo is an inte­gral part of any solid plot. With­out the two part struc­ture of set-ups and pay-offs, you just can’t pull off the pow­er­ful emo­tions that will really move your readers.

Nat­u­rally, this has tremen­dous impli­ca­tions for copy­writ­ing as well as fic­tion, report­ing, and so on. So I’ve cov­ered this essen­tial copy­writ­ing skill in depth in a two-part series (natch) over at Copyblogger:


I hope you enjoy the series and that read­ing them pays off for you in your own writing.


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