Memorable Writing

Which is more memorable? “To be, or not to be, that is the question…” or “I ponder my fate ceaselessly, vacillating over the answers raging through my tormented head. To be? That is what plagues me. Or not to be? I cannot tell. Oh, woe is me! Which should it be or not?”

I hope you said the first one! Shakespeare’s famous quote is easy to remember. He penned many lines that are still used in everything from speeches to commercials—400 years after they were written! Now that’s memorable writing. 🙂

You may not aspire to be Shakespeare, but whatever you write, you want people to remember it. Here are some tips:

1. Give readers simple, memorable lines instead of lengthy, tedious descriptions.

Even if you personally enjoy reading endlessly long descriptions, most readers quickly become bored. Your writing should be effortless to read as well as intriguing. Descriptions are necessary, but they should be concise. And make sure to have at least one memorable line. Here’s a (made-up) example:

[YES] The moon mocked her. It blatantly illuminated the landscape, preventing her stealthy escape. The projected angry storm clouds still billowed at a distance. How had the moon escaped their swirling black shroud to aim its spotlight on her?

[NO] Tonight the moon was supposed to be hidden behind dark and menacing storm clouds which would have been perfect because the layers of churning black would block out the moon’s bright glow. Instead, it was shining down so brightly that there was no place to hide, no place to sneak away, no escape. She had counted on the wild darkness to conceal her—she desperately needed that covering. But the moon was spoiling everything as though it was mocking her with its spotlight over the world, unhindered and unwanted.

2. Write in common language instead of exorbitantly superfluous philosophizing.

[YES] The moon mocked her. It blatantly illuminated the landscape, preventing her stealthy escape. The projected angry storm clouds still billowed at a distance. How had the moon escaped their swirling black shroud to aim its spotlight on her?

[NO] The moon was her avowed enemy. It was not projected to expose its beacon tonight, mayhap in diminutive excerpts fighting through the raging dark storm clouds. She counted on those beasts of darkness aswirl in the expansive sky to envelop her as she absconded. The wind refused to gust and spawn the unearthly veils of gloom, the moon agleam and taunting her impotence.

3. Make your writing relevant instead of writing over your readers’ heads.

[YES] The moon mocked her. It blatantly illuminated the landscape, preventing her stealthy escape. The projected angry storm clouds still billowed at a distance. How had the moon escaped their swirling black shroud to aim its spotlight on her?

[NO] She looked for the cumulonimbus billows that formed in the presence of wind shear, creating supercells that were frightening in their intensity. She studied the projections, but the atmosphere was stagnant, repudiating the necessary collection of air and moisture to produce the massive rotating mushroom billows. The moon’s unrelenting illumination of the terrain without cessation portended she was unable to escape undetected.


Whew! Maybe a random reader will enjoy the lengthy or scientific writing, but the majority of readers want to easily envision your narrative. Keep your writing tight and keep going!

The moon mocked her. It blatantly illuminated the landscape, preventing her stealthy escape. The projected angry storm clouds still billowed at a distance. How had the moon escaped their swirling black shroud to aim its spotlight on her?

Heavy footsteps clomped nearer and louder. Her jaw clenched as she rose from the shorn field. Time was up and escape was no longer an option. Her only choice was unthinkable, but she steeled herself to take action.

Do you want to know what happens next? That’s the goal. Keep your writing simple and intriguing so readers want more!


Savvy Writer Tip:

If you take the time and effort to write something for others to read, make it memorable!
1. Keep your wording concise and fascinating without long descriptions.
2. Write in common, colorful terms so readers can visualize everything easily.
3. Write in a way that is relevant to your audience.
Most of all, be creative—write some memorable lines! Will you, or won’t you? That is the question. 🙂