We break a piece of writing into ‘beats’ or units of thought. In the most powerful persuasive writing, there are about five or six different types of beat and they almost always occur in a particular order.The course is designed to train participants to recognise those beats, feel the correct order and see how it all comes together in the best writing.We use this tool to look at speeches by Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, copy by Saatchi, and a song by Prince to investigate how great writing can persuade and inspire.
One of the consequences of this work is that very often a writer realises that they’ve been driving on a very partial set of cylinders. Maybe they’ve never used the last beat or, worse still have been hobbling around on barely two of the five or six possible different beats. The reason their writing is numbingly monotonous becomes instantly clear. It’s a great “ah ha” moment and one that guarantees a breakthrough in their level of writing skill.