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.

Wanted: Fiction Ghostwriter

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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 […]

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Naked Public Recycling Cures Bone Valley Hauntings

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Ghost writing doesn’t haunt its ghost writer. Once a project is finished, it’s sent off with its new owner and the ghost writer can free his or her spirit from the piece. There are no remnants, no bones left behind. If the customer is satisfied, the work is finished. Often, the ghost writer is bound […]

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If I’m ghosting for a week, writing articles about the side effects of antiquated amitriptyline or the evolution of human teeth, I find it nearly impossible to settle into writing a short story or even a simple journal entry. Conversely, if I’m on a sleepless reading jag, chest-deep in poetic prose and an old, revered story, I […]

A Critical New Year

I’ve been asked about my New Year’s Resolution. I generally never give this a decent thought until someone else brings it up (similar to my reactions to questions like, “Are you ready for Christmas?” or “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?”). I’ve always sort of scoffed at the molded system: a calendar devised by people […]