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Persuasion Tactics Part 2

We have introduced the persuasion plot hole and discussed a few ways to repair it. This week, we add a few more options to the writing tool kit.

1. Concede Then Deny: Dick can listen to Jane rattle on and agree with her points, but refute her conclusion. This will frustrate Jane into arguing her points all over again or stating them a different way so that Dick will accept her conclusion. He can either fight the conclusion, agree to disagree, end or derail the conversation.

2. Cut It Off: If it is clear to Dick that he can't win, his best solution is to cut the the conversation short or abruptly change the topic. Jane can use this tactic as a defense if Dick attempts to bludgeon her into agreement.

3. Everyone Does It: This is a teenager's favorite ploy. They drag in people they've never met to support their side of the argument. Everyone is doing it, why can't I? It isn't really illegal if everyone is doing it. You've done it, why can't I? Aunt Sally did it. My friend Ted says he does it all the time. These statements are either true or completely made up. They may be effective or fall flat depending on the audience.

4. Exaggerate It: To effectively tear down Jane's argument, all Dick has to do is get her to exaggerate it. The simpler her logic is, the harder it is to refute. If Dick pushes her into generalizations, he has more ammunition to work with. He can compare apples to oranges. He can derail the conversation by arguing the generalities rather than the specifics.

5. Finish What He Started: Dick wants Jane to do something, so he starts it off then asks her to finish it for him. He can start a chore, a story or a diversion tactic and ask Jane to finish it. It also works if Dick is in the middle of something and forces Jane to do the other thing he wanted out of. He would take care of it if he could, but he's in the middle of something else. Would she be a dear and do it for him? This is a problem if the package he wants delivered contains cocaine.

6. Give Then Take: If Dick does something wonderful and unsolicited for Jane, she will feel like she owes him one. She will be more likely to accede to his next request even is she is resistant. He can play the guilt card, "But I did X for you, why can't you do Y for me?"

7. Go For The Kill: Jane has argued point after point. When she tries to change the subject or deflect the conversation, Dick knows he hit a weak spot. He may not know exactly what her weak spot is, but he was successful in his attempt. Dick can go in for the kill and drive the point home. He can give her some ground and restore equal footing. He can back away, satisfied that he met his objective: he made Jane rethink her position, question something she believed or agreed to something she resisted.

8. Jolly Her Into It: Dick makes a request. Jane says no. Dick teases her. He pushes the boundaries of his request into the realm of stand-up comedy. He amplifies her objections to get her to laugh. She realizes the over-inflated objections are kind of silly and agrees to his request.

9. Leave them Laughing: If Dick needs to get out of an awkward or undesirable conversation, he can derail the situation by telling a joke, making everyone laugh and forget what they were discussing in the first place. If Jane is furious with Dick and he can make her laugh, she might forget what she was angry about. If Jane wants something Dick doesn't want to deliver, he can make her laugh and forget her request.

10. Praise Then Please: Dick wants Jane to do something she hates. He butters her up first by telling her how much he loves her and appreciates her. He gets her feeling all warm and snuggly then pops the question. She will feel like a heel for refusing.

Next week, we will add additional tools to our persuasion kit.
For these and other fiction tools, you can pick up a copy of the Story Building Blocks: Crafting Believable Conflict in paperback or E-book.

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