Today’s post comes from a fiction writer by the name of Arron LaRue. He has gratefully taken time to write to you regarding how to improve writing for your audience, no matter who your readers are. Arron is a fiction and content writer living in Raleigh, NC. Be sure to check out his website at http://arronlarue.com/
There is more to writing than merely stringing words together on paper (or the computer) to construct sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc. For writing to be effective—no matter the type—it must accomplish its purpose, whether it’s to inform, teach, or entertain. So what’s the best way for a writer to ensure the piece achieves his goals? By writing in an unambiguous and curt manner.
After all, writing is nothing more than written communication. And communication should be clear and to the point. Period.
The responsibility of the writer is to be efficient in his use of words; likewise, he should strive to be judicious with the images those words create. Too many fifty-cent words or grandiose descriptions used for nothing except self-gratification will leave the reader bemused. But the appropriate word selection or use of imagery will enrich the reading experience.
However, the writer should never sacrifice vivaciousness for brevity. Clarity is a precondition; the gradation of directness is determined by the category of writing and intended audience—the deft writer always knows his audience. Remember: writing devoid of sparkle (whatever the classification) will eventually be absent of readers too.
Now, does this mean you should follow stringent “rules” whenever you write?
Well . . . since rules were made to be broken (words of wisdom from a former English teacher of mine), here are some guidelines to follow when you write:
1) Choose words appropriate for the piece and the intended reader.
2) If there is any doubt as to the clarity of a sentence or paragraph, reconstruct it with simplicity in mind.
3) Use imagery suitable for the particular type and style of writing.
4) Never construct superfluous or flowery prose in an attempt to impress the reader.
Therefore, your assignment is to be vigilant in the quest for clarity and straightforwardness . . . well-nigh to the point of obsession. Your editor will indeed thank you, your readers will continue to read, and your writing aptitude will skyrocket.