Anything you write that’s over a few hundred words needs to have structure. And that structure should be obvious to your audience. As they read, they can see what’s coming, and can anticipate reading further.
How to write better
Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, there are a number of things you can do to make reading your work more interesting.
- Start by organizing your thoughts so that your text flows in some logical order. Whether you’re building a fictional plot or presenting some non-fictional subject, you need to give your readers some clue about what’s coming. Avoid jumping around to avoid confusing and losing your readers.
- Make your writing short and to the point. Charles Dickens could easily spend a page and a half describing a character. Today, however, readers tend to be less patient. So, after you’ve written a section of deathless prose, cut out any extraneous text.
- Shorten your sentences. It’s easier for a reader to absorb sound bites than to try to remember what you wrote at the beginning of a very long sentence.
- Break up long prose with headings, bullets, lists, tables, graphics, quotes, etc. This creates clearly visible ends and beginnings of paragraph text. Though this may be truer for non-fiction than fiction, think of things that you can insert that break up endless paragraph reading. This may be even more important for electronic books than print books.
- Put bolder statements or concepts early in a piece of text. Avoid the need to build to a conclusion. You may risk losing your reader along the way.
- Use examples or a short background to add interest and dimension to your text. If that involves doing some research, it’s worth it.
Thinking about how you write may be just as important as what you write. Don’t start paving your road until you know where the road is going.
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