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It’s 1970…

And three young American soldiers who survived the Vietnam war are cheating death again...

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...But this time it’s for a weekend of golf.

They were granted leave from their base in Texas—and as they were all pilots—rented a plane to fly to New Mexico.

All was well in Santa Fe…

...until they found out they weren’t actually granted leave. 

And if they didn’t get back to their base in a few hours, they would be considered AWOL...

This is the beginning of a true story. But I’m not going to tell it today.

Today you’ll see how and why the ellipsis can keep your reader’s eyes on the page.

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Our brains love a story.

And they love a story because of one thing...survival.

Our brains, along with the brains of all creatures on this earth, are constantly analyzing and evaluating what is crucial to keep us alive. Most of the time we’re not consciously thinking about survival. It’s a subconscious thing. I mean who has the time, right?

In her book ‘Wired For Story,’ author Lisa Cron writes “your subconscious brain...is a finely tuned instrument, instantly aware of what matters, what doesn’t, why, and, hopefully, what you should do about it.”

Humans have the additional ability to consciously navigate situations, and we do this navigation through story. 

This is both a blessing and a curse. 

It may seem like it’s an advantage compared to our furry or clawed counterparts’ abilities. But then again I don’t see my cat telling herself a story about why it makes sense to buy pants a size too small as an incentive to lose that “holiday” weight. 

Of course, my cat also doesn’t wear pants. (Further proof we may not be the superior species.)

So what does this have to do with the ellipsis?

Expectations.

The ellipsis implies a story...with suspense...or a tease. 

It draws our eyes down the page.

We need to find out what happens because we help our survival by learning how other people survive. We couldn’t possibly survive if we had to rely only on our own experiences.

We’re pulled in. We can’t help it.

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Lisa Cron writes, “When a story meets our brain’s criteria, we relax and slip into the protagonist’s skin, eager to experience what his or her struggle feels like, without having to leave the comfort of home.”

As copywriters we want to lure our reader in. We want them to forget they’re reading copy—with the only thought in their mind being “tell me more.”

But like most things in life...don’t overdo it. Too much use of the ellipsis and your reader will notice. Your reader may get annoyed. Once that happens the magic (or brain science) of storytelling is...gone.


by Lisa Pierson
Conversion Copywriting Lead & Partner @
CopyHackers Agency


LEARN TO PERSUADE

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