Never Try to Educate Your Reader

Writers have all sorts of reasons why they toil away at the keyboard. Most of these reasons are completely laughable–as in “I’m writing the next bestseller!” And we all know that writers who use frequent exclamation points are NEVER going to make it!!!! To Miss CP, the worst possible reason to write is to EDUCATE or INFORM. Never works.

You see, Miss Crankypants has noticed that readers love to be surprised. Not in a “Honey, we need to talk” way, but your average reader can’t stand the obvious. Nope. Readers want to be entertained, challenged, and get free foot massages for life but they do not want you to instruct them. They got enough of that in Miss Battleaxe’s seventh grade English class.
So anytime a writer gets that smug look and announces, “I’m writing this novel to educate my readers,” Miss CP wants to slip them a cyanide capsule to put these poor writing souls out of their misery.
But these writers rarely listen. No, they’ll take their chances with informative prose that could best knock-out drops. They’d much rather be known around town as that writer who “puts my teeth to sleep.” Miss CP shakes her head in wonder.
Writers, please. Don’t try to slip in a little history lesson as you write. Don’t try to convince us to sell all we own and go live off the grid. And for pity’s sake, stop trying to write us into changing our lives forever. There’s enough boring stuff in the world as it is.
Now, if you pen a gripping account of Miss Battleaxe’s recent bodice-ripping escapades with the Secret Service, that we might want to read.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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