When you empower your reader, you become a better writer.
To empower your reader means respecting his intelligence. You don’t need to explain what was just obviously said in the dialogue or to elaborate on the obvious moral of the story in a “You see, Timmy” moment. When you include that extra wordage, you reduce the punch and drama of your story, and the reader feels cheated.
Empowering means trusting the reader to grasp your inferences and symbolism, of not spelling out via exposition what is meant. When you explain a simile, metaphor or allusion, you drain its evocative power. If you fear the reader won’t get the metaphor unless you go in detail about it, then maybe the metaphor isn’t that good to begin with.
Empowering means sharing the important information of a story with readers rather than holding it all back or burying it in sentence after sentence of irrelevancies. Your writing should be succinct and tight, meaning no mime conversations and here-to-there action. Ensure that every word actually centers on conflict and moves the story forward.
Empowering means utilizing an easy to follow, albeit subtle, framework for your story so that readers are not confused about what is occurring or what is the protagonist’s goal. Readers want to be surprised by but accept as plausible the characters’ decisions not spend page after page trying to guess why an action was taken.
Writers who do not empower their readers show not just a lack of confidence in anyone picking up their book but in their own writing abilities. Empowering readers requires a lot of thought and revising to get it just right; taking the easy approach only tells readers that you don’t believe you can handle that challenge.
When you do write the many drafts necessary to empower your reader, however, your skills and talents grow. Perhaps slowly but always surely, you’ll find that writing respectful of your reader becomes easier and easier…and your readers will show their appreciation by picking up more and more of your titles.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.