These tips for writing for a broad audience are derived from various books by writers and personal experience.
· Write in “plain” English: reduce jargon, clichés, and regional elements to those essential to the text or story.
· Write dialogue like a person might sound: few people speak “proper” English and even fewer think it sounds correct.
· Write only what is necessary: more is not always better. If something can be stated with fewer words, do so. If a text runs short, cover more material — avoid “filler” words.
· Edit, don’t mangle meaning: over-editing annoys readers as much as wordiness. Assuming readers know background facts loses part of the audience.
· Use humor: especially in technical writing, humor helps hold an audience.
When you write a chapter or section of any work, you should ask yourself why that section exists. What is the point of the section? Some example purposes for a section include:
· Background information: the facts needed to make sense of the work, the “context” of the words.
· Foreshadow: let readers know what is ahead, or at least what might be ahead.
· Color: adding details, depth, and richness to the work.
· Rhetoric: content meant to convince readers to follow along, persuading readers to support the author or narrator.
There are other ways to consider sections of a work; the key is that you have a reason for every word, sentence, and section within a larger work.
Show, Tell, or Omit?
Writers consider each element of a narrative, even in nonfiction. Do you show, tell, or omit details? Writing teachers often repeat “Show, Don’t Tell,” but the reality is more complex. Some information is best told so you can deal with more important and compelling content. The toughest choices involve what to omit. Remember, you want to include the essential elements, omit the extras, all while creating a compelling work.
Hook the Reader
You have fifty words, roughly, to hook a reader. Not only should the first page of a work hook readers — the start of every section needs to hook readers. Audience expectations vary by form and genre; you need to know your audience.