Wednesday, January 18, 2023

3 Tips for Creating Great One-Liners in Your Writing


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Great one-liners become fodder for memes, tweets, and Goodreads. Did you know that you can share quotes from your books on social media or a website called Goodreads, and your words and byline might end up on a stranger’s memes without you ever knowing?

You should try it sometime. I did. I listed my book on Goodreads.com, which is owned by Amazon and a great tool for authors and readers. It’s like a library of possible books to read, and after we’ve read the books, we can leave reviews about them. 

I created a Goodreads author page and added my books to the website. I then added quotes from my books and didn’t think anything else about it. One day when I was googling my name (we’re supposed to do that to see how far our reach is), I found websites that put my quotes on memes with the appropriate attribution. A delightful surprise.

So how can we create one-liners that will inspire people and possibly even move them to share the encouragement they received from our writing

3 Tips for Creating Great One-Liners 

When we write nonfiction, we may be so focused on explaining our main point or meeting a deadline, that we forget to create quotable sentences. But great one-liners aren’t only useful for sharing online; an author or publisher can use them as pull quotes in a book to highlight a tidbit of encouragement for readers. 

So here are three tips for creating one-liners that will stick in your readers’ minds and hearts long after they’ve closed your book.

Tip #1: Contrast a battle with its victory.

What do we learn at writers’ conferences? Write to address our target audience’s felt need. What problem are they facing that we can offer a solution for? What challenge do they need encouragement to overcome?

A great one-liner will contrast a problem with its solution.
  • The next time fear paralyzes you, … (fill in the blank).
  • When loneliness creeps into your quietest moments, … (give a solution). 

Powerful quotes can inspire us to tackle challenges with new courage and fresh wisdom. How can you inspire readers to face their challenges with faith in God and practical wisdom?

Tip #2: Don’t always talk in paragraphs. 

Say what? Of course, we need paragraphs in our writing. But I’ve noticed in my own writing and in others’ writing that sometimes we can’t pull a line out of paragraph and quote it because it needs its neighboring sentences for context. You would have to quote the whole paragraph for that one sentence to shine. Because of copyright permissions and the space we have on memes, a chunky quote isn’t easy to share. 

So as you write your chapters, be mindful of creating some short sentences that don’t need neighboring sentences to make sense. Often, I like to plant a short sentence right after a couple of long ones for impact. Create a “pow” after a long sentence that explains Scripture, by inserting a short, punchy sentence that applies Scripture. Those short sentences can make great one-liners. 

Tip #3: Use a name for God instead of pronouns.

Sometimes I read my paragraphs and see a line about God that really stands out. But I have used “He” and “Him” to refer to God, and if I don’t change those, some people may not understand the quote like I intended it. 

Fix this in your own writing by seeing how many times you’ve used “God” in a paragraph, and then switch out a “He” for one of His names—God, Father, the Lord, or the Almighty. Then someone can lift that sentence out of its paragraph and quote it without anyone wondering who you’re talking about or what you meant. 

What tips do you have for great one-liners? Do any of these tips inspire you to take a second look at your paragraphs for quotable lines? Join the conversation, and happy writing and quoting!

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Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of LIGHTHOUSE BIBLE STUDIES. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020 Selah Awards finalist. She also enjoys encouraging writers and giving writing tips in her monthly writers’ newsletter called THE LIGHTHOUSE CONNECTION.

In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.COM, thoughts-about-God.com, and three blogs on writing. She loves to spend time with family and friends, create art and make crafts with her group MY ARTSY TRIBE, and tend the garden in the morning sun. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Featured Image: Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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