Maths might have Pi, but writing? Writing has that extra E that you always wanted to put on the end. Yes, you heard me: writing has PIE.
Unfortunately, PIE is not actual food, but an acronym, but you’re more than welcome to present yourself with some real pie when you’ve used all three words.You see, PIE stands for the three purposes of writing:
P for to persuade (or argue)
I for to inform
E for to entertain.
Surely there’s more than that? I hear you cry (I have a top-secret spying device that isn’t so top-secret any more; I have a can and some string). Well, let’s think about it.
You’re not telepathic, are you? Okay, well what I was thinking was that this post, for example, has the purpose of informing you, and hopefully entertaining you as well. A lot of things in the written world are made to entertain, from a play or TV drama script to a poem. ‘Entertaining’ writing tends to be viewed as the more ‘creative’ type of writing, but we all know that it takes a creative mind to play devil’s advocate (apart from those of us who have never played devil’s advocate, I suppose).
Which brings us neatly onto persuasion. Not just a dark supernatural power of creatures around the world, persuasion can be used to make people believe anything you say. For example, just stating that this blog is the best in the world likely won’t convince you, but if I use persuasion… well, let’s just say that I don’t like using my powers for evil, and leave it at that. Examples of persuasion in writing are everything from your local tabloid to that book you just read or the poem that you’ve been a-pondering. Because the fact is, us ‘human’ types are obsessed with getting our point across. Absolutely, raving mad obsessed. I told you that there were only three purposes to writing, and then proceeded to tell you what they were. But what if there are more purposes? What if I’ve simply been trying to get my point across to you, and you are now never going to write something to [insert fourth purpose here]? What if I’ve stolen that from you? Fact is, there are barely any ‘facts’ or opinions in this life that can’t be questioned… but we like to pretend there are.
And that sort of takes us towards our last stop, the purpose of informing. We like to inform, us people. To inform is almost to persuade, seeing as I’ve now persuaded you that there’s no such thing as facts, and we like to be cleverer. Especially governments. They like to be the cleverest of us all. Which is why a lot of things written to inform are leaflets written by the government, road signs, and cats.
Yes, I said cats. Just to check if you’d been listening. As, you see, this post is at an end, and I don’t have time to give a quiz. Sorry.