Although today is April Fool’s Day, these twelve tips for keeping readers are no fooling.
- Write down your idea(s) as soon as possible. Even if an idea doesn’t seem right for your current project, you never know where you can use it, so get it down on paper.
- Once you’ve got your idea(s) on paper, don’t lose what you wrote down. Figure out a place to keep your creative genius so you can find it again when you want it.
- Realize that every kind of writing is observation. Your job is to reflect life back to your reader so your reader can relate.
- Sometimes an idea may seem like an extension of another idea. That’s okay. Go ahead and write that extension down too. It could take your story or article in a whole new direction.
- Look for inconsistencies in life and write about them. For example, what can you discover when you analyze why a person drinks a diet soda with a fast food combo meal? Saving calories? Taste issue? Justification for the fast food?
- Tap into the universality of an experience or idea. Everyone reacts to a paper cut pretty much the same way, for example.
- Watch how often you repeat a word–especially unintended repetition. I recently edited a book that used the same unusual word twice in one sentence, which distracted from what the author wanted to say.
- Write as clearly as you can so your reader doesn’t have to back up to figure out who’s talking or what your sentence just said. If your reader has to back up too often, you’ve probably lost him/her.
- When you tell a story, exaggerate a little–report more than you actually saw. Embellishment can add color and interest to your writing.
- It’s not possible to show every detail in your story–and you shouldn’t. Think of your story a sculpture and get rid of everything that isn’t important.
- If writing humor, realize that humor has to be funny from the beginning with smiles sprinkled in. But humor is subjective, which means you may have to cut stuff you like but no one else does.
- When writing a story you don’t know how to end, take the ending idea and bring it full circle back to the idea that opened the story.
With so much competition for a reader’s time and attention these days, I trust you’ll find something useful you can use in these twelve tips.