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I have a niece that I really like talking to. She wrote an art piece for the blog a bit back, and she’s a burgeoning author. She’s an articulate young lady and recently she is needing to put together a one page synopsis of her book. Taking ALL that information, and finding a way to put it on one page. She’s needing to simplify, and as I read this chapter in Writing Tools, I am learning that simplification is best.
We have a new Brazilian student living with us this week. He’s a nice boy, but like the one who just left, his English leaves something to be desired, but UNLIKE him, he has a better command of written English.
Whenever a new student arrives I am reminded that using small words and slowing down the cadence of my speech, assists in understanding. (and when all else fails, Google Translate is our friend). 🙂 There is so much that is new that it can be overwhelming. Canadian society and mannerisms is a complex organism that takes time to digest.
It’s the same when we write. When we have a complex situation or problem, making it simple helps your reader.
Prefer the Simple over the Technical
Assuming that you are not writing for a technical audience, clarity with simpler words and shorter sentences, better helps your reader understand the material.
Rather than using longer words, use shorter. Make your points plain. Doesn’t mean you need to talk stupid, or down to people, you are just using the words you need to make it plain, and therefore easier for your readers to understand.
Simplicity can also be conveyed, through the use of words that spark the imagination. A careful, complex crafting, using plain english, that melds the imagination into a complex whole.
Remember your first decision…. you want to inform people of something, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or prose.
What you are doing now is using your words, your short, concise, imaginatively complex words, to convey your thoughts. You are helping your reader understand your words in as clear a manner as you can.
How to do that?
The more you know your topic, the more time you spend with it, making sure you know all the minutiae of it. The clearer you can be in writing it. I saw this often when my hubby was putting together a sermon. He’d complain that it wasn’t coming together and then say… I need to study and research it more.
It’s hard work to do the reporting, researching, and critical thinking. It’s impossible to make things clear to your readers if it’s not clear in your own head. Do the work and then tell your readers “here’s the message”.
- Revise your work. Study the words you use, can they be shorter, more concise?
- Any complicated passages that you can rewrite?
- Is there additional research that you need to do to make the matter more clear for your readers?