Keep it simple

Writers need to interest and entertain their readers. To do this, they have to make sure every word is understandable by using plain, simple language and concrete words. Obscure technical terms, foreign phrases, long unpronounceable names and jargon may make sense to those in the know but not to the majority. It puts up an unnecessary barriers that will deter your readers.

barrier brickwall

Inspiring some children to read is difficult enough as it is, so why make it more difficult for them? My advice is don’t hesitate to break the rules if the alternative is to write something that looks and sounds contrived or ugly. To avoid badly constructed sentences that grate on the ear read what you have written aloud. Record it if you have to and listen back.

ear

Your aim should be to get the meaning across directly without using artificial and over literary sentences. This will help your stories understand the turn of events and keep your readers turning the pages. To achieve this try to put yourself in the shoes of the readers. 

boy reading cartoon

Before putting your pen to paper ask yourself:

  1. What am I trying to say?
  2. What words will express it?
  3. What images will make it clearer?
  4. Is this image fresh and original enough to have an effect?

Choose precise words and invent your own images to make your meaning clearer. We have been told by countless people that the use of hackneyed similes, metaphors and other phrases is pure lazy writing. So when editing your work check if you are using original descriptions.

child editing

Metaphors like: ‘you win some, you lose some’, ‘a fish in troubled waters’, ‘hard as nails’ and ‘snow-white’ are over-used and dull. It is better to invent your own metaphors and similes to add colour and imagination to your writing.

Avoid using long words where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out then cut it. You can often find words that can be cut without losing meaning. The word ‘that’ is the ideal example. Cutting adverbs and adjectives can also strengthen your writing.

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