Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Value of appealing to testimonials, eye witnesses in your writing


There is tremendous value in using testimonials in your writing, because your readers — this is true for fiction and nonfiction alike — pay more attention to what PEOPLE say and do than they pay to narration of a scene, or product feature lists.

“Hey, you won’t believe what I found, Marge.”

“What’s that, Gertie?”

“I found the best diet pills in the world. I swallowed just two of ’em last week, and I swear I’ve lost 8 pounds.”

“Hah. Eight pounds, Gerie? I don’t think so.”

“I swear to God, Marge. No joke. Just look behind me,” as Gertie turned around and patted her noticeably slimmer behind.

“Hmmm. Okay, I’ll get a bottle. Maybe they’ll work for me, too.”

What do we learn from this quickie imaginary dialogue between friends Marge and Gertie? (I mean besides my lack of imagination in creating quickie dialogue.) We learn that 1) Gertie is a convert to these “best diet pills in the world,” 2) Marge respects Gertie’s testimonial enough to hear her out, and, 3) Gertie’s seemingly newly slimmed down rear end gains more credence from Marge than any carefully presented list of ingredients/side effects/scientific patter/reality ever could.

When you write something to capture your readers’ attention, add some testimonials or “eye witness evidence” to it, and you’ll have a head start. Even if the testimonial or witness is blatantly stupid or just plain wrong, you’ll at least gain a look from your readers.