Monday, December 05, 2005

The "Phat Farm effect" in writing

Do you give a darn about "Imperial Costumes of Ottoman Turkey"?
Are you somewhat more intrigued by the fashion described as follows?

I guess you could call it the Phat Farm effect, the fashion for oversized, overstuffed outerwear. It turns a person of average build into a walking sport utility vehicle, and - this is the point - makes him or her look bigger than anyone else around.

This quote shows the value of taking your esoteric article topic and relating it to something more familiar in your reader's life.

That connection makes the reader more disposed to read on, to learn that:
Every age and culture has a version of this. So, imagine it expressed, not with down parkas, but with parchment-stiff silk robes woven from threads of gold; with thick brocade coats sprinkled with tulips and roses; with flared kaftans washed by ocean waves and bright with crescent moons.

Analogies and colorful language can hook a reader on a topic that might otherwise escape her notice.

If you're interested, you can read the entire article article, "Dressing for Ottoman Success in a Blaze of Silk and Gold," by Holland Cotter on page D1 of the New York Times (Dec. 5, 2005)


Post a Comment

<< Home