How to Write a Good Ransom Note

A Good Argument

  • Bold Clear Premise (Thesis, Hypothesis)
  • Step-by-Step Logical “Proof”
  • Specific Details to emphasize and illustrate the reasoning

Does This Qualify as an Effective Proposal Argument?

Yeah, that’s a horrible Ransom Note. And it would make a horrible argument of any sort. It has no clear premise, follows no logic, is so short on details it does not clearly communicate the consequences of following or failing to follow instructions. 

Does this qualify?


This is more like it, a clear thesis (Proposal Argument: deliver money or lose your husband.), full of specific details and bold claims, it makes its purpose known and identifies the consequences for failure to follow its excellent advice.

Reply below how this comparison of two Ransom Notes helps you understand the value of very specific claims and illustrative language.

29 Responses to How to Write a Good Ransom Note

  1. ilovedunkinoverstarbucks says:

    The second ransom note is much more descriptive with saying what they will do to her husband and give to her if they do not receive the ransom money. I would be much more likely to be persuaded by the second one as it is very detailed and it is specific enough that it does not seem like a joke.

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  2. minutemen14 says:

    The comparison of the two puts into perspective how important it is to be specific and to the point. If you’re not the reader has no shot at actually being engaged. Just as a ransom note isn’t persuasive, your writing will not capture your audience’s attention.

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  3. toastedflatbread22 says:

    This proves the danger of being too wordy and vague-it loses the audience and doesn’t really get anything done. The good ransom note gets straight to the point and states what it needs, which is exactly what our paragraphs should do. We should write with a clear, direct language, just like a ransom note should.

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  4. littlecow24 says:

    From reading both notes, it is clear that using specific examples and very clear arguments will get you much further. You can’t beat around the bush when writing, and the second note definitely comes off as much more persuasive and clear. These have helped me understand the value of specific claims and illustrative language because of how much I was persuaded by the second note. The claims you use and the language you use could make or break your relationship with the reader, and they will be much more engaged if there are specifics.

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  5. Lunaduna says:

    The first ransom note fails completely to address itself, “what the person wants.”
    The note is too vague and does not declare that the person has the valued item.

    The second ransom note explains what the person wants, and says what they would do if you do not give them what they want.

    In an essay, you need to be clear in what you are trying to say. The reader needs to fully understand the topic in the first paragraph.

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  6. zipemup1 says:

    The second ransom note was straightforward and precise enough to provide the reader a thorough picture of the situation.

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  7. friendoftacos says:

    The comparison of these two ransom notes helps me understand to be specific in my writing. Having an introduction argument that does not get a clear thesis and ideas across is not effective. Using specific language is important to get an argument across. Without specific claims and illustrative language the argument would not be effective and would not help your reader understand what your argument is.

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  8. levixvice says:

    The second ransom note adds more detail about how much money to give as a transaction to get her husband safety without involving the police, which could cause harm for the husband in the process than the first one, which say how much money or If the person has the husband at all as proof.

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  9. kingofcamp says:

    The comparison of the two ransom notes helped me understand the value of specific claims in illustrative language and in an argument. In the first ransom note, the writer making the argument chose “shallow” diction which worsened their argument- pacifying their point. In the second ransom note, the writer chose “bold” diction which aided their argument. The writer was clear in their argument and convincing with their reasoning.

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  10. cfalover says:

    The first ransom note is very broad. It does not describe in detail where her husband is, what they want in return for her husband back, or what to do with said money. The second ransom note right away goes into what is necessary to know; that they are holding her husband hostage and that they haven’t hurt him yet. They tell her how much money to withdraw (and even from which accounts) and where to place the money. Finally, they have proof that they in fact, do have her husband and put a threat at the end so she feels obligated to give them the money.
    Comparing this to specific claims and language, it is extremely important that the reader knows what your claim is, and that you are not broad about describing it; they need to know every detail and they need to understand what you will be talking about in the remaining paragraphs. Not using this illustrative and descriptive language will result in your reader being confused; they should be able to easily visualize your argument.

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  11. gingerbreadman27 says:

    When comparing the two notes it becomes clear what the people want from you in the second note. Whereas, in the first one they never really specify what they want exactly or how you should continue with the matter at hand. Also in the second note there was a very real threat if you should not comply with their demands.

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  12. zzbrd2822 says:

    The comparison of the two Ransom notes helps me understand the value of very specific claims and illustrative language by differentiating between a bold, clear claim and a weak claim. The first ransom note did not have specific details and made it harder to follow or understand. The second one provided proper details and identifies the consequences for failure to follow the instructions.

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  13. lokiofasgard24 says:

    In the first ransom note the true intentions of the black mailer are vague. While it is clear to see in the second ransom note, the writer expresses that they want large sums of money and no police involvement in return for the husband’s safety. Although it would be more convincing if the ransom note was more reckless then gramatical, I understand how it relates to our writing assignments.

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  14. cocochanel715 says:

    The second ransom note is more specific and has a more threatening tone to the note, meanwhile the first ransom note was not threatening and was wordy. Ransom note two, had specifics like sending the husbands wedding band to prove they have him, how much money to take from the bank, where to put the money, when the money should be placed, and if the money wasn’t there they would send the husbands ring finger. Note one, was basically saying that the safety of the captured isn’t safe but were being specific of what they want in return.

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  15. spaghettitacosforthesoul says:

    The first ransom note has a lot of gaps. It requires a second note and if you’re holding someone hostage and as a ransom note seems like a bad choice. There’s no detail of the amount of money they want, where to put it, and doesn’t apply enough pressure to deliver the money. The second note covers all the points you need without requiring a second letter for information.

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  16. frogs02 says:

    The first ransom note was very unclear and does not qualify as an argument. The second ransom note is more to the point and a lot more clear. There is not enough detail in the first one and many mistakes could be made such as how much money and where the money should go. But the second ransom is making it well known about how much money, the proof they have of the husband being with them, and where the money should go to. The second ransom note is more convincing.

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  17. sunshinegirl457 says:

    This analogy shows how important it is to include details when writing. You need to present the main ideas, be specific, and use logic in order to get your ideas across in the most effective way. Without this, it is just a collection of words that has no real meaning or effect on the reader.

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  18. ziggy026 says:

    The second ransom note goes into more detail and specifics about the situation and gives whoever is reading it clarity as to what to expect and what to do. The first isn’t as threatening and does not make as much of an impact. All of the information is given in the first note and says all of the ‘right’ things. This relates to writing assignments because it shows that we need to be clear and concise with out writing so that the reader does not have to think twice about things and completely understands the intention of each word.

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  19. imaspookyghost says:

    the first ransom note is far to vague with the details, and would take a considerable amount of brain power to understand that it was actually a ransom note. It lacks logic, premise, proof, and outcome. The second note however gets to the point that it is indeed a ransom note. It provides thorough details about what has to happen and what will happen if the ransom is not paid.

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  20. Lily4Pres says:

    The comparison between the two notes leaves a better understanding on what is required in a good argument. There needs to be some sort of conviction, alongside detailed word choice that applies to the situation. While the first note is very broad and can be determined in numerous ways, the second note does not leave that opportunity.

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  21. comatosefox says:

    The first one didn’t give a clear goal, it seems fake. The second gives proof, a goal, and consequences if the goals are not met, or the police get involved. It states everything in a timely manner in order to get their point across quickly and clearly. You would not need a follow up from them, they gave you what you need in order to make a decision.

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  22. chickennugget444 says:

    The second note is much more effective because it includes specific details, and it is much more threatening. The first note is too vague, and not specific enough for the reader to totally understand. Seeing the comparison of these two notes, I’ve learned that I must be more specific in my writing.

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  23. calamariii says:

    Being descriptive and precise in your argument is an important way to make it convincing to the reader. The first letter was vague and unconvincing, leading it to be confusing and possibly misinterpreted. Our arguments should be more like the second letter as it was more convincing due to its more precise language and more descriptive arguments.

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  24. strawberryfields4 says:

    While the first ransom note is extremely vague and is not very convincing, the second note makes the intentions of the ransom holder much more clear. This example illustrates the importance of including details to build credibility. It makes the reader take your claims much more seriously. Furthermore, it asserts that you are sincere and your arguments are worth consideration.

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  25. nugget114 says:

    The first ransom note did not even give the recipient any reason to believe what they are saying. There was no clear argument and no where did it say that they were “holding the husband for ransom.” The second ransom note was very clear and other than the fact that the recipient didn’t know if she’d get her husband back even if she paid, the rest seemed convincing. They gave the wedding band as proof that they had him, and they used scare tactics by stating the consequences if she didn’t follow what they said.

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  26. krackintheneck says:

    The first ransom note is too unclear and there were not good enough supporting details to support the claim. It does not really prove any point or help the reader understand. The second note is clear and gets right to the point making it an actual ransom note.

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  27. zeek says:

    The intentions of the kidnappers is more clearly stated in the second note.
    They state what is needed to be done by the notes recipient, they make threats and continue to say that a repercussion of non compliance will result in further detriment to they women’s husband.

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  28. tyblicky2001 says:

    The first ransom note had me confused and caused me to misread the paragraph. I was confused on the purpose of the note. I figured it was just informing me on something. But, when I read the next note, I understood the message and the details were specific. Clear message.

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  29. chickendinner says:

    The difference between the first and second ransom note clearly illustrates how important it is to avoid wasting words or being overly vague. If you don’t specify details and take too long to get to the point, you risk losing the reader’s attention.

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