10 tips for writing a more effective letter to the editor

  1. It's been said that to the extent one can determine your vocabulary, he or she can drive your conclusions. Be meticulous in choosing the right words to say precisely what you mean -- the pro-abortion media are. Avoid the obvious euphemisms of the pro-abortion rhetoric like "pro-choice" and "reproductive rights." Also, be careful to avoid overusing subtle terms used to make abortion sound good like "abortion services" or "performing" abortions when "doing" them is fine.

  2. In addition to choosing words for accuracy, it's important to choose words for impact. Mark Twain said that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the same as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Find that right word.

  3. If you can, start your letter with a "grabber" lead. This gets the reader into the letter. If your first sentence is bland, even those who agree with your viewpoint won't take interest. A possible good use of a "grabber" lead, for example, would be to open with a startling fact that relates to your topic like, "One of the top causes of death in America today is abortion."

  4. Always keep the motivation of your "audience" of readers in mind. Try to visualize in your mind how the readers will react to every point you make. Anticipate what the arguments against your position will be (you've heard them before) and respond to those views in the letter.

  5. After writing the letter, rewrite it, making sure everything is said in the most concise, efficient way possible. For example phrases like "there is" are rarely ever necessary. If you have a sentence saying something like, "There is a lot of evidence which supports this theory," a good rewrite would break it down to "This theory is supported by the evidence" or, even better, in active voice: "The evidence supports this theory." The key here is to use no unnecessary words to make your point. Also on rewrite, eliminate redundancies like "today's contemporary view" instead of just "today's view" or "the contemporary view" and "confusing, perplexing and bewildering" when in the context of the letter which said it, those words meant the same thing.

  6. Write letters that sound positive. Don't portray yourself as anti-abortion, but as pro-life. For example, you fight not just against public funding for abortions, but for the protection of the rights of taxpayers who value human life. You fight not just against the act of an abortionist, but for the right to life of the child and for the option of adoption and for a woman's right to be informed of the truth.

  7. Make paragraphs brief. Studies have shown that this increases readership in newspapers. The theory is that this makes the page look less "gray" and makes the article appear more enticing by letting the reader feel he or she can read it in virtually no time at all. The best letters will have paragraphs averaging no more than two to three sentences each.

  8. Personalize your letter whenever possible. Tell about yourself or people you know if you or they have had experiences pertinent to the right to life issue. People like to read about other people's lives, and it proves more persuasive than a letter which becomes bogged down by too many statistics.

  9. Speaking of statistics, when you use them, cite your sources of information. That lends credibility to your argument that the pro-abortion side will never have, because the truth does not support that side's position.

  10. One of the most effective ways of persuasion is to quote your adversaries accurately and then provide evidence that disputes what they have said. For example, if you wanted to make the point that you were alive before you were born, you might want to first quote someone from the other side saying something ridiculous like a Planned Parenthood pamphlet from several years ago which referred to preborn children as "the content of the uterus." Then say something like, "Speaking as a former 'content of the uterus', I am opposed to abortions."



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