Writing to be Read

KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) is the perfect acronym for authors to embrace.  Short simple sentences are not only easier to read but get the point across faster.  When people really “get” something in your book they are more likely to talk about it and spread the word. Spread the word and sell more books.

Readers today do not want to reflect on or respond to lengthy parcels of writing. They want the meat and potatoes of the work laid out for them in language that is easy to follow. Honestly, while James Joyce and Herman Melville produced outstanding literature that has stood the test of time, who reads their work casually? Academics may read it but most students will look for the movie version or the Cliff notes. Why?

Think back to kindergarten…writing was fun! Exciting! When we were first introduced to learning how to write it was a socially active engaging experience.  We used simple language to learn phonics skills and built word walls.  Writing was interactive! Reading was Dick and Jane and Spot and Puff and all their silly adventures. Then we graduated to Dr. Seuss and the art of rhyming word families. Oh, the places we did go with our reading!

As authors, we need to get back to that simple carefree use of language. We need to write to be read in a way that engages the reader and makes them excited about the content. Throw out those long passages of describing the scenery. Economize on the length of word and the details.  This is not 11th grade where you have to show your knowledge of the language, the rules of grammar, and the depth of your vocabulary. 

Readers prefer:

  • Dialogue and lots of it
  • Showing and not telling by the author
  • Less detail

 Everytime an author interjects more than a “said” in dialogue they are butting in the scene.  The author should remain as invisible as possible in the work. Show readers through dialogue the conflict and action of your story.  If you are describing a snow storm does the reader really need to know what each flake looks like as it falls to the ground? Remove words that are not found in everyday language. Honestly, who really uses words like “ubiquitious” and “mendacious”?

Writing to be read means tightly scripted work. Cut, pare down, and chop away at pretentious writing no one really wants to read.  Sometimes the simplest writing can put forth the most complex ideas. Make every word count.


About mywritingmentor

I am an editor, book coach, and freelance writer.
This entry was posted in editor, manuscript preparation, publishing, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Writing to be Read

  1. matttargett says:

    Well said. I wrote a post in my blog about this very same subject recently. Check it out at: http://matttargett.com.

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