Trust your Readers

As happens every six hours, AM talk radio had begun to depress my mood. There was nothing on FM to sing along with. The silence was too much to bear, considering I’d been alone all day.

A small voice came from the back seat. “Mom, I want to read to you.”

“That would be great! Let’s go.”

A rustling of pages ensued and my 10-year-old daughter started, “The animorphosisms stood before me. Around each one was an extremely disgusting pile of slime.”

“Honey?” I interrupted. “What did the pile of slime look like?”

She thought for a moment and responded, “It was disgusting.”

“Yes, but what color was it? Did it smell? Was it moving? Was it making any sounds?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t say.” She turned the page forward and back again. “It’s just disgusting…that’s it.”

This reminded me that, in my own writing, I must remember to strive for a “show, don’t tell” process and product. Regardless of the age of the reader, the author must remember that the reader will feel much more satisfied — more fulfilled and willing to keep on reading — if he or she feels a part of the deductions made in every story, every chapter…every paragraph. Don’t tell your readers that something is disgusting. Tell them that the pile of flesh-pink and mold-green, coagulated material moved with sucking waves of nauseating slurp and expelled clouds of stink — stink that could only be duplicated by plunging 3 dozen rotten eggs into a vat of decaying skunk flesh.

creative-writing

Trust your readers and they’ll trust you. Give them the information they need to draw their own conclusions — and if the information is crafted with heart and plenty of thought, their deductions will match your expectations.

Nothing to Write with

If I disjoint my vision, bid it stop searching for a glimmer in the blackness or a curvature on which to land, I’ll see. If I can stop my panicked ears from grasping out for some sound, any tumult, no matter how small, I’ll hear. If I take away food, if I allow my mouth to cleave […]

Do Writers Get Days Off?

Is a writer permitted to make lots of elementary mistakes in arbitrary written communication?  Surely. Do others (no matter their credentials) have the right to correct grammatical errors made by an unsuspecting, off-duty, writer? Definitely. Should either do either? No. Before I piss a whole bunch of people off, allow me to make one thing clear: I make […]

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Cliche: Plagiarism out on Parole?

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Hiring a Ghostwriter Who Boils for You

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When hiring a ghostwriter, professionals and would-be authors can easily be disillusioned by ghostwriting job requirements. One would think that an English degree, impeccable grammar, and speed are of the utmost importance in the ghostwriting process. One would think. But sometimes, as in the case of the grammatical faux pas I’ve just committed, some cold-and-hard rules […]

Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic: Good Grades for Ghostwriting

Remember grammar school? Most of the material was pretty basic, but I’m guessing you can easily pinpoint the subject that caused you the most angst. For me, it was geography. I found myself amused that The United States resembled a decapitated Thanksgiving turkey lying on its side, but ask me what was inside its borders […]