Editing Tip #63

Don’t Underestimate Your Readers ~

Letters courtesy of http://www.slideshare.net

Letters courtesy of http://www.slideshare.net

I could have been snippy with the sub-title on this tip but I didn’t think it would be taken as the tongue-in-cheek moment it was meant to be… showing an understanding of my general readership. Now, this isn’t censoring. I’ve mentioned before how imperative it is to write according to the age and general expectation for your reader and genre – this is a little different.

One of the most important things to remember is not to alienate your readers. Dropping jokes that are likely to be misconstrued is one way of distancing them from your writing, but the biggest faux-pas is talking down to them.

You have to assume that your readers are a smart as you are.

Yes – even if you write for children or young adult and especially if you write for adults. If you’re explaining something too much or leaving too many hints in a kid’s mystery or simply assuming that they will have a hard time connecting the dots between what character A did to character B in a past life then you’re in danger of codling your reader – and readers don’t like feeling stupid.

How do you edit for this?

Usually the best way is by giving draft 2 to a beta reader who follows your genre and is in the right age range. When she’s done reading and giving you her feedback ask questions:

What did you think about….?

When did you see this as a possible outcome?

How did you feel when I mentioned this for the 3rd time?

Was anything too obvious?

When did you figure out so-and-so’s secret?


Leaving this to self-editing only might have you alienating your audience by accident. It’s crucial to have a trusted reading source who will be 100% honest with you about these things.

And remember…

Sometimes the truth hurts, so don’t take it personally – learn from it and re-craft those problem areas making your book the best version of itself that it can be!

Happy Editing šŸ™‚

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Categories: Editing

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