“Dear Student Writer”

You’ve decided to tackle a difficult project: a manifesto! Congratulations on that decision. I hope you change the world. But again, it’s going to be a difficult project. You will struggle in areas with this project, but maybe I can help you.

Let’s start off with what makes a manifesto work. The basics are the same as any other persuasive paper: be clear, concise and persuade. When writing a manifesto, you must have a clear, strong focus. People need to know what you’re fighting for and they need to know from the get-go. So don’t spend time talking about how recycling changed your life if your topic is about becoming vegetarian. The reader also needs to be able understand all of your arguments. When discussing a subject or argument, never assume that the reader knows what you’re talking about. What you should assume is that this is the first time they are reading this information. Include all relevant details even if you think they are common knowledge. Also, your manifesto must be concise. Many young writers think that long, complicated sentences are the best but in reality those sentences are confusing. It is easier to write a short, to the point, sentence. In a shorter sentence it’s easier to make a clear point that the reader will then understand. But when I say “shorter” I don’t mean you should make your sentences dry. You must maintain the juiciness to generate interest in the reader. Instead, leave out extra words and phrases that go off on a tangent. All you have to do is get a point across. Segueing from that thought, remember that a manifesto is persuasive. So fight for something. Make your point and tell the reader why it’s so important. Really convince the reader to make a change in his/her life. Your goal at the end of the piece is for the reader to say “hey, I think I’ll become vegetarian because of this manifesto.”

I’ll admit, these basic techniques can be difficult to master. In the manifesto I’m working on, I’m having a difficult time persuading my readers. I know why food composting (my topic) is important, but I’ve heard that the reader doesn’t completely understand why they need to change. But where there’s struggle also comes ease. What I find to be easy for me is clarity and focus. I know exactly what I’m writing about and the arguments I’m making.

Even though mastering all these techniques is difficult, it can be done. The Juicing Manifesto is a personal favorite of mine because it used these techniques to make the manifesto interesting. At the beginning, it immediately pulls you in with statistics and it’s clear from the beginning what the topic is. It’s also concise; it consists of short, powerful sentences. And it challenges the reader to try juicing by blatantly stating “This is not just a manifesto. This is a challenge.” If you want to know what a powerful manifesto looks like, I’d check it out.

So remember, even though writing a manifesto is difficult you can still be successful if you focus on being clear, concise and persuasive. Take this advice and read The Juicing Manifesto and you’ll know where to go with your piece. Good luck!


3 thoughts on ““Dear Student Writer”

  1. Your triumphs in your draft 1 are that you are pretty concise I guess. You’re to the point and your sentences are short, and not confusing. For example: “Food composting is the decomposition of food waste into a dirt like substance that can be used as fertilizer. It is a way for us to reuse the food we don’t eat that is environmentally friendly.” You’re not going off topic, really straight forward and it makes sense. As you said though as well, I think a problem to why you’re not so persuasive is that I don’t see your own personal experience related to this. Why is this topic important to you? Why do YOU care? You only talk about your hometown and statistics, but facts are everywhere and it’d be cool to see your opinion to why you do it and then more people might be more motivated to do it, knowing your prior experience to it. They might relate and it makes the persuading process faster and better. I think you know where you’re stuggling though and as you said in your letter, you also know what you’re good at, so I’m positive you’ll do great editing your final draft. Just make sure to narrow your audience. That will also help persuade better.

  2. Your Letter to the students is rather great considering how well your first draft turned out. like Susann, I think what you did best was describing to the reader about describing your terms. I also enjoy how you use short and concise sentences. It is easy for readers like myself to read and keep up with, especially when you persuade us reader. Your strongest point for me is how you compost at college, “at my dorm room in college, I don’t have the time to compost all of my food, nor do I have to compost to the necessary items. Instead, my roommate and I throw our fruit and vegetable scraps into the bushes near our room.” Because of this i have started to throw my orange peels in the bushes. What you should mainly focus on is how composting relates to you personally. I suggest you put a personally story after you intro to be more relatable to audience and persuade the reader in that much more. How did composting become so important to you? are you environmentally friendly in genreal? I think that will make your manifesto that much stronger.

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