Tag Archives: clarity

IWSG 83: TO BE CLEAR


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This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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co-hosts

Erika Beebe | PJ Colando | Tonja Drecker | Sadira Stone | Cathrina Constantine

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

When I took my first on-line writing course, which seems centuries ago, I learned something about writing I didn’t expect. Within our six lessons, we were limited to a paragraph. Sometimes a page.

I had to edit my thoughts right down to the bone and chose each word carefully. It proved that words came at a cost.

As a group, we’d give feedback on each submission. I was hit with questions like: Where and when am I? Who’s talking? Or the worst: I don’t see anything.

My word choices seemed so obvious to me weren’t communicating clear images to my readers. I sensed something weird was going on, and it had nothing to do with my limited word count.

Why were my readers experiencing things that weren’t on the page, and how could I fix it?

I tried adding concrete details and letting the work rest. But as hard as I tried, they still saw something else.

Truth

No matter how much work a writer puts into a scene it will appear in a reader’s mind as something slightly different. Proofing our craft is art and each of us adds a little of themselves as we read.

What about you: Any feedback surprise you in your early days of writing? Care to share.

IWSG 38: Clarity in Writing

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Co-Hosts:

Tamara Narayan | Pat Hatt
Patricia Lynne | Juneta Key | Doreen McGettigan|

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OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned  since you started writing?

My nightmare could be summed up with these simple words: “I know what you wrote, but what do you mean?”

Clarity seems simple:

But when I was younger, and I heard this phrase, I would become incensed. How could someone—anyone—not understand what I mean? I wrote poetry and to me it was the simplest of art forms. I couldn’t paint, act, play a musical instrument, or sing. But I could put a few words down and the person would feel something.

We’d connect.

So when I wrote longer works, how did I lose my clarity?

Struggling for Eloquence:

I knew what I thought and what I wanted to say, but there were many times when I didn’t use the right word.

Over time and with the help of a few kind and patient soles, I learned how to select the right words. It wasn’t easy, and it took a fair amount of stubbornness on my part.

It turns out I’m a minimalist too:

It goes against my instincts to write so much down. What I’ve learned is first sentence is a topic sentence and there is no harm in expanding a thought with more detail.

Another thing is to let my work rest long enough for the internal movie to disappear. Then when I re-read my work I see the glaring gaps and choppy sections for myself.

I know my flaws and what to look for when doing my read through. My readers get what I mean now. Some think my writing isn’t too bad, but I still ask for help.

Beta Readers:

Sometimes I still don’t see my mistakes and my beta readers are such a blessing. It isn’t their job to guess at what I mean.

What lengths do you go to for clarify your work?

Any shortcuts you’d like to share?