Monday, July 15, 2013

Be A Better Writer

There are numerous articles on how to become a better writer and they are full of good advice: write every day, read, seek criticism, target your audience, proofread, build your vocabulary, do not use words beyond your target audience's educational level in order to sound intelligent, and write what you  know or want to know.

This post deals with the more obscure ways to enhance your writing skills.

1. Shift focus off yourself and on to your target audience.

     What does the reader want from you?
          A. Enjoyment/laughter?
          B. Education---to learn something about a subject?
          C.  Enlightenment?
                (1.) an "Aha!" moment
                (2.) spiritual growth
                (3.) insight
                (4.) persuasion

2. Write with enthusiasm derived from

          A. Experiences
          B. Research
          C. Spiritual beliefs
          D. Personal contacts
          E. Respect for: people, history, animals, physical sciences, fine arts,
               inventions, travel, or psychology
3. KISS---keep it simple sweetheart. Crisp, clear, simple writing conveys your
                 meaning but doesn't call attention to itself.         
             A. Read each one of your sentences. Can I say it using fewer words or
                  better choices of words that will appeal to all your readers?
                  "I washed the dog using a non-aromatic, dye free, low sudsing, mild
                   soap in "Goldilocks  temperature" (not hot nor cold, just right degree of
                   warmth so not to frighten him) and in a low PABA, plastic pan."       
                  "I shampooed my dog using a non-irritating soap and tepid water."

4. Be honest. Opinions show in your writing. Your words tell others about you and what your think. If you want the reader to believe you, you must be truthful.

5. Use a thesaurus frequently. It takes the boredom out of your sentences and allows you to say precisely what you mean. It helps you to use words correctly.


Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

These are good, not-so-common tips. Re #1, I recently heard an author describe how he keeps one particular reader in mind as he writes. In this case the "typical" reader of the author's genre was a woman of a certain age group and social demographic, with certain predictable interests, likes, dislikes, opinions, affiliations, etc. The author made a composite of this reader and even named her "Peggy." As he writes he asks himself, "Will Peggy find this interesting?" I don't see myself going to those lengths to define my audience, but that author found the exercise useful.

Jennifer Rova said...

Interesting idea about the author who pictures a typical reader. I will try it next time. Thanks, Jenny.

Ana Goodwin said...

I like your comment in the blog about being honest with the reader. I sure notice it in my own writing when I'm trying to be something I am not.