Show, Don't Tell.
My brother Craig works in the movie industry and has read plenty of movie scripts. He tells me the best scripts adhere to the guiding principle of "show, don't tell".
"The camera can't see what is going on in a character's head," he says. "The story must be told through action, dialogue and imagery."
Good advice for any writer wanting to engage their readers.
Several years ago, I took a trip to Kauai which I described as "one of the most beautiful places in the world".
While this sentence might have created some interest, one of my readers asked me WHY I felt this way. That question opened my eyes to how I need to use more imagery to place my readers into the scene, engage their senses and captivate their interest. Here is a much more interesting way to describe Kauai:
"I walked off the boat into a shock of humidity; a wet blanket infused with the scent of a wild variety of unfamiliar fruit. A thick jungle lay before me, sweeping upwards into the serrated pinnacles above the Na Pali coastline."
OK, I'll admit to unfettered poetic license, but you get the idea.
Don't be afraid of your own voice. Be assertive. If you’re going to make a point, hammer it home for your readers in a way that leaves no room for ambiguity.
Your readers are honouring you with their time and attention. Honour them by providing them with your best insights and arguments. Give them something meaty and compelling so they come away from reading your work with new tools and ideas. That’s what they came for. Be a solid defender of your point of view.
Eliminate Qualifiers and Avoid Redundancies.
The following bullet point tips will go a long way to strengthen your writing and create a more compelling experience for your readers:
• Don’t use "Of course", "In fact", "For example", to start a sentence. Just say it.
• Don't use "there is", "there are" or "it is" to start a sentence.
• The word "both" is rarely needed.
• Don't use "that" unless it must be there.
• Edit for redundancies and rephrasing. Can you condense your point into one sentence?
Use these three tools to strengthen your writing. Your readers deserve the absolute best you can deliver!
As always, write your way and enjoy your day!