Writers’ advise

Writers’ advise

Illustration: Susan Batori

In addition to my previous blog, and anticipating a new round of editing of the coming Colloquium book. I thought how to provide some more practical advices. Let me by way of thinking-aloud write down a few writing principles.

A good writer knows his reader

The first writing down is for your own understanding. But does you reader also understand what you want to convey. Let your reader read over your shoulder.

A good writer doesn’t burden the reader’s memory

Keep sentence length down. An average length of around 20 words speeds up reading. The faster a reader reads, the less he/she becomes tired and the more the text pleases him.

A good writer is a good shepherd

Avoiding difficulties he guides the readers like sheep to his meadows, avoiding ‘difficult words’. Simple words with high frequency also increase reading tempo. So: as little as possible outlandish or loan words.

A good writer keeps the reader focussed

A way to lose the reader’s focus is to use long sentences with subordinate clauses, separating auxiliary verb from the main verb. It burdens because the eye must switch to and fro, lowering reading speed.

A good writer keeps concepts clear in content

Concepts must stand the test of analytical content pulverization which implies. Grind the used concepts till you have only those bits which resisted this destruction. That are the simple bits.

A good writer avoids the reader looking back

As soon as the reader stumbles over a difficult word, fuzzy concept or long sentence, there is a chance he raises questions, puts down writing and leaves back with a chance to get lost.

A good writer makes the reader feel at home

He invites the reader to the fire place and says: “Do you have time? Please, sit down, I have a story to tell.” Mind, you take the reader’s time, not the other way round.

A good writer tries to relax the reader

Don’t be throughout the writing dead serious and if the theme and context allows slip in an ironic flavour. A smiling reader is an interested reader.