The Mighty Intelligence of the Reader

1: The writer should try not to repeat themselves in the writing.
Most readers pick things up pretty fast. The reoccurrence of words, sentences and / or ideas will slow the writing and loose the interest of the reader. They will find it jarring and overall unsatisfying. Reminding the reader of something in one small phrase may work, but only if it is separated by chapters of the original thought.

2: Don’t use words that are only used in a thesaurus.
Picking out words that seem to have flare and sound more intelligent can be the opposite. If the writer doesn’t use those words in every day conversations, then they should avoid them in writing.

3: Show or Tell: pick one.
This goes along with repeating ideas; however, it drives more deeply into it. Let’s try an example.
The girl lifted the rose. A sharp pain lanced into her finger, blood pooled in the fresh open wound. She dropped the offending flower with a curse. She pricked herself with the rose.
You can see and feel what the girl had, no need to tell us what happened. This slows the pace and becomes jarring.

What do you find in books that upsets you as a reader? Do you find yourself ignoring or nitpicking books that have this? As a writer, what do you do to avoid doing such things? I’d love to hear from you.

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4 thoughts on “The Mighty Intelligence of the Reader

  1. GeekGirl says:

    As a reader, one of the things that upsets me is when an author explains objects, terminology, or anything else that is commonplace. That is a faux pas of writing that I never can accept from a writer. It is condescending to believe that your reader can’t understand something that is mainstream in your target audience.

  2. Well, I get accused of using big words sometimes. But I do actually use them in real life too, LOL. I have to get my beta readers to tell me if anything is jarring in that department.
    One thing that really annoys me is when writers have characters do something just for the sake of the plot — something that character would never do, based on everything that has come before in the story. I also get irritated when the writing dwells too much on how absolutely stunning the MC or other major characters are. It’s okay to mention it, but pages of gushing over physical appearances really turn me off.

    • nemune says:

      Readers can usually tell if the big words are looked up or are a part of the writer’s vocabulary. You should be safe Vicki.

      I’d have to agree on forced actions to help plot and over doing the appearance of the characters. Readers like to use their imagination. The most basic description is usually best here.

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