Deep 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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