‘From X to Y’ is one way to add detail
Jonathan Franzen contrasts a character’s life then and now in Freedom:
There’s power in twos. Two details — 1) formerly been active with the SDS in Madison and 2) now very active in the craze for Beaujolais nouveau — create interest and balance in your message.
From X to Y
One of my favorite techniques for two details is the “From X to Y” approach. Add alliteration, rhyme or A-to-Z examples, and suddenly, you have a colorful passage on your hands. Here’s one example, from my company brochure:
“Ann travels from Hollywood to Helsinki, helping communicators in organizations like NASA, Nike and Nokia polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work.”
I was able to use the from this to that construction in this rewrite for a European tech company. Here’s the original:
In fact, commuters make more than 3 billion trips each year on the Paris metro, tram, bus and regional express trains through Paris and the Île-de-France. That makes the RATP the densest and largest metropolitan transportation system in the world. …
Show, don’t just tell.
Fun facts and juicy details are among the more than 6 types of concrete material to try.
One way to get more detail into your piece: Try balance, from X to Y and the power of twos.
How could you use concrete details to sell your points?
What questions do you have about concrete details?