How to Make Your Intentions Clear as a Writer

How to Write Clearly


Many published books by great authors or writers don't seem to interest everyone, especially the younger generation. This may lead us to surmise that it is not the reader's job to penetrate the soul of the writer and find out "what he's trying to say." It is the writer's job to make ideas and intentions clear; that's what writers are expected to do, just as plumbers are supposed to fix leaking faucets. If the writer doesn't make ideas clear or cannot convey ideas to a normal intelligent reader, then he or she has quite simply failed. If thoughts don't get through to a specific reader, then he or she has failed to write successfully for that reader. If a writer has enough readers who are pleased with the works, that would be fine. And if the readers don't enjoy what the material, then they must go on to something else.

 Being a writer does not entail that there are certain books and authors you "must" like to be intellectually and morally fit. All of us are attracted to various kinds of reading materials. That's how some writers can make a living writing romances while some get rich pouring out murder mysteries and still others pay rent having articles on how to install air conditioners and stuff like that. Readers read at different paces and they absorb information in various ways, based on their experience and reading habits. Others like several details so they can picture scenes more sharply. Others favor very little detail; they would rather keep things moving.

Read what you love reading. Reading is not alleged to be some kind of endurance test. It is supposed to be fun, or at the least pleasurable in a broad sense of the word, which involves the pleasure of learning things that will keep you from flunking a biology test. But since you are a writer you must read often and generously to learn more about writing so that your own work won't become an endurance test for somebody else.


Some recommendations:

Reading private-eye materials to check the way in which short dialogue and sparse description can move scenes forward.

Thick novels allow you to see how layers of vivid details can shed light on a setting and a century.

Read non-fiction books to see how the alleged "fiction techniques" can make the most trivial information compelling.

Short novels that have endured gives you a glimpse of how a single word well selected is worth more than ten words seized in a hurry.

Newspapers makes you notice the dimensional divergences between stories that tell you what a woman stated, and stories that tell you how she sounded like, moved, and felt when she spoke.

Magazine articles allow you to see how the presence of humans can breathe life into issues like inflation, house-buying, and foot care.

Read out loud and listen to how the words go down on your ear. Ask yourself why the writer employed this phrase rather than that one. Choose a word and ask yourself, "What work is the word doing in the sentence? What would be different if I change the word or scratch it out?"


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