The Turnpike Troubadours, a (possibly defunct?) country band, have a song called “Unrung” in which the narrator admonishes an older friend about a relationship with a much younger woman. The song begins,
I could tell you she’s a bad idea,
For all the good it would do.
You’ve got a Chevrolet as old as her–
Hell, you bought it new.
I want to look at those four lines for a minute in order to point out a few things about the use of concrete specifics, both in storytelling and in persuasive writing.
Good persuasive writing typically moves from claims (or opinions) to facts. It is helpful to know the difference, especially in a cultural climate that seems to be post-factual. Some things actually are verifiable facts whether you like them or not–also, whether you wish to believe them or not. Not everything is an opinion. It seems bizarre to be living in a world where one has to point these things out, but there we are.Read More