Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Secrets from Professional Writers (Part 1 of 10)

1. We Don’t Bore Our Readers.

We can't bore readers, instead they stop reading. Perhaps that sounds obvious, but too many writers are fascinated with their topic—usually their own lives—and assume everyone else cares. If we write as a form of therapy (and that's valid), and recognize what we're doing, we don't try to push the rest of the world to read our struggles.

Some writers assume readers are eager to grasp every word they write. The opposite is true: We have to persuade people to read us and assure them that the time they spend with us will be rewarding.

We do that at the start of our manuscripts. What promises do we make in our titles? In our first sentence? Opening paragraph?

When we forget readers, we invite them to close the book. Whether we're entertaining or teaching, people read because of their perceived needs. We write to meet those needs.

Because we find it interesting, or we think our life is newsworthy, it's easy to assume everyone cares. It's better to assume no one cares about what we write. Our task is to give readers reasons to care—early in the article or book—and keep them interested because we relate to their lives.

If we put the needs of readers first,
we earn the right to be read.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for all your helpful tips! I am just beginning to read your site and information, but already I've been helped so much!

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  2. Great tip. We have to MAKE readers want to read what we write!
    Thanks

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  3. I love this tip! I've been thinking of this a lot lately as I write - even as I blog. I don't want to waste my readers' time or chase them away. Great advice for writers of all types!

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  4. All of this is good and true, especially if you are writing for an living audience. However, there are a few of us who don't write for money, fame or trips to New York. Oh, I know, you possibly are saying, "Then get off of the bookshelves and quite wasting space." Number one, I love writing and would do it even if there were no bookshelves with space on them. I do write for my family, fans and friends and they enjoy what they read, but my main reason for writing is for great, great grand-kids I will never meet and want them to read something written by great, great grandpa. Sounds corny to a professional writer, but that is my story and I love it.
    Dr Robert E McGinnis, fifteen books and counting

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  5. Thanks Cec. My goal is to use my words as a vehicle to minister God's love and mercy to my readers - to attract them to Him so that their lives can be transformed. I can't remember who said this, but I recently read that when self-editing we should examine every word and ask if it is necessary to the message. Every word. To me, that expresses how imperative it is that we listen to the Lord as we write. It's not about us. It is about Him and those He will draw to our work.
    Hope all is well with you and Shirley,
    Nan

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  6. Thanks Cecil! I am a new author so I'm am absorbing everything like a sponge!

    Patience Prence

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  7. Hi- This is the first time I read your blog and my first comment. I was told by successful writers not to think our lives are dull and shouldn't be included in our writers. There is always someone out there that loves to read about a a family, or just one person, living in a cabin cabin deep in the north woods, a the hero or heroine of a story attending a one roomed school heated by a wood burner.

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