Lessons Learned #16

Don’t lecture your readers

WARNING: This blog contains *spoilers* for my second book!

I had marked this quote a while ago, in case I had learned nothing in a week. Which happens to be now 🙂 .

My approach to writing is to avoid writing as if I was lording over my reader, but instead, as if I was walking alongside them.

Avoid patronizing readers, or in any way trying to put yourself above them. They won’t find it endearing, for one thing, and it is yet another barrier you might be introducing in your writing that causes people to not return.

You haven’t arrived as the end all in your area of expertise. Picture yourself on a journey with your readers, writing about what you’re learning, and you’ll get more meaningful conversation back from them. People have conversations on journeys, not in lecture halls.

– Julie Neidlinger –

When I read this I found it so true. Sometimes I struggle with this in my writing as I don’t really know what readers remember from my first books. My second book is a stand alone one, it can be read without having read the first one. But I need to explain a lot as to what happened in the first book. I don’t know, when I’m doing this, if I am lecturing/boring them. I do realise it’s not so much a lecture, more of a repeat. I hope I have written it in a way that is still entertaining.

The lecturing part in the second book is more about the undertone of the whole story. The most controversial subject in this book is abortion. I don’t want to convert people to accept or be against abortion, but at the same time I want people to know that every situation is different and requires all possible viewpoints to make a thoroughly informed decision. Both females in the book get pregnant and have the option to have an abortion. At first one wants one, the other doesn’t. After quite some drama (of course) and some hard thinking they both change their point of view and choose the other option. As I myself have quite a strong opinion on this topic I had to restrain myself not to drive home my viewpoint and let the situations take their course as naturally as possible. What you want is that your readers enjoy your story and hopefully start thinking about the underlying topic afterwards, possibly with an added point of view.

This is actually something that I did learn this week. As a novice writer you only think about your story. You write whatever comes into your head. As you get more experience you start writing with your audience in mind. What would they think? How would they react to this? Would they like it if my characters do this? And of course; if I write it this way would my readers think it’s boring? Now and again you have to switch yourself from being a writer to being a reader. Read your own work from a step back and judge it as if it was someone else’s work. Be harsh, others will be too. And nobody learns from praise alone.

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Author: Jacky Dahlhaus

Paranormal Romance Author

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