Writing 101 – How to slay captions, Agatha-style

Writing 101 – How to slay captions, Agatha-style

by marlies|dekkers

If you have a social-media account – and who doesn’t? – you are a publisher, a marketeer and a writer. Yes, in this content-driven world, we are all writers. But how can you find your voice? How to best tell your story? In one single caption? Well, let’s ask the best selling novelist in history.

Agatha Christie may not have had an Instagram account, but she did write unforgettable killer stories with catchy titles. In other words, she would have slayed at writing captions. While a few years ago it sufficed to post a cute picture with an emoji and a hashtag, now story telling has taken over, turning captions into lengthy ‘micro blogs’. A wonderful opportunity to use your voice but oh! – the pressure! “There is no agony like it. You sit in a room, biting pencils, looking at a typewriter, feeling you want to cry your head off,” Agatha once wrote about the torture of the writing process. Sounds familiar? Let’s overcome that ‘caption writer’s block’, using tips and tricks from the @QueenofCrime herself (because that would totally have been Agatha’s handle).

01. Do the dishes…

… or any other daily routine that can be turned into a few minutes of mindfulness. Looking for inspiration? Desperately staring at your phone is not going to help. According to Agatha, the best of ideas come from doing the simplest of things. Like the dishes – her own personal favorite – or any other chore: “When I am walking along the street or examining a hat shop… suddenly a splendid idea comes into my head.”

02. Write it down…

… as soon as you have a flash of inspiration. In your phone, on a chewing gum wrapper; it doesn’t matter where. If you wait, that catchy intro or brilliant pun might be gone, forever. “I usually have about half a dozen notebooks on hand to make notes of ideas that strike me,” Agatha once wrote.

03. Say it loud…

… say it proud. Does your fabulous idea somehow look much less fabulous on paper? Often, there’s a disconnect between the passion we have when we talk about things and when we write them down. So, call a friend or record yourself talking about the essence of your post, then quickly translate that excitement onto paper. Even shy Agatha was not afraid to say her dialogues out loud during her long daily walks.< p>

04. Start with a bang…

… to stop that scroller in their tracks. Agatha always made sure to write a killer first line, and with Instagram showing only the first few words of your caption, so should you! What is the punchy, attention-grabbing element of your story? A strong emotion? Hard-hitting statistics? Start with that.< p>

05. End with a twist…

… to leave a mark on your readers’ minds (and inspire them to leave a comment). Agatha loved to save the best part – her mind-blowing plot twists – for the very end. Don’t be afraid to surprise or even shock!< p>

06. Kill your darlings…

“There is a right length for everything,” Agatha used to say. Before posting, edit your caption ruthlessly. Shorten, delete, and rewrite anything that does not add to the content (but make sure you don’t lose your spontaneous tone). Break up long, rambling sentences. And I’m sure Agatha would have agreed with Chrissy Teigen on the subject of hashtags: “Hashtags are ridiculous. More than three is cringeworthy. More than six makes me happy we found a new planet that can sustain human life.”< p>

07. Get a life!

Last but not least: live life to the fullest. Read, travel, love and laugh. It’s the best way to guarantee that whatever you write will have a sparkle and meaning. Like Agatha used to say: “Being alive is a grand thing.” Bam. The perfect caption!< p>

 

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