Let’s be honest: not each text can be written in a way the others would appreciate. But most of the texts can – no matter if it is an encyclopedia article, an essay, or a fiction novel. There are lots of tips for each genre specifically, but today we’re going to talk about the general ones. Use them to make any writing appealing and get well-deserved fame!
1. Choose your audience
The first thing that you can do to make your audience happy with your text – is to define that audience. You can’t be equally good for anyone, so, to become successful, you have to decide who you are writing for. Will they be teenagers or elderly people? Mostly men or mostly women?
A narrow community that appreciates deep-diving into the topic or general readers that need it from the very basics? What is their cultural heritage, level of language knowledge, their background? Imagine your “average reader” and the story they want to hear from you.
This step might be difficult for lots of people. We all want to write something that will be appreciated by all the world, but even Byron or Shakespeare – the world-renowned classics – have their own hate club. Don’t be afraid to narrow your audience a bit – it will allow you to adjust your writing style to the ones you have chosen and deliver the text of the best possible quality, that was tailor-made for them.
2. Make a great structure
The equally important step is the structure of the text. Our brains tend to structurize anything they perceive, that is the way to store it in our memory (much like the computers do – the computer memory is made to mimic our brains to some extent). If we read through a poorly structured text, our brain has to make an extra effort to put everything into the right order, create “bookmarks” and logical links between the parts.
It exhausts us, so the text, no matter how great the language is, feels difficult to read. We don’t like to get tired for no important reason, so we subconsciously blame the text for it. The “stream of consciousness” texts are appreciated by the lovers of the genre, but lots of people find them tiresome if not senseless.
A well-structured text is the one where each paragraph, chapter, or whatever part it may be, might be summed up with one whole idea. The classical fairy tales might be a good illustration. Where did Little Red Riding Hood live and what was her family? Why did she go to the forest at all? What happened there and what decision did she make? Each of the questions has an answer in the text. These questions and short answers work like breadcrumbs for our brains. We easily recall the whole chapter (more or less accurately) picking up this “breadcrumb question” from our memory.
3. Use human cultural heritage
Some scientists think that there is only a limited amount of plot twists that humanity has invented until now. All the greatest books in history are the meticulous combinations of them in different forms and circumstances.
At least to some extent, it is true. We all are emotional beings who react to similar events pretty the same way as our cave ancestors. We feel awe and fear, care and sorrow, joy, and interest. And there are some structures and traits (they are often called archetypes) that may invoke that reaction. Imagine you want to write about alcoholism. You know, that this topic is quite popular and still actual. So, try to find some examples from different sources: from the library to special services like https://newyorkessays.com/examples/alcoholism/.
You’ll get the pattern and make your writing good. To test it you can remember the last text that made you feel strong emotions. Are they all based on your unique personal experience? Or can they be universal? Will other people feel more or less the same?
Using such archetypal reactions is a legit way to emotionally guide your audience. It is a universal emotional language that can be understood by anyone anywhere and a great way to show the audience exactly the same emotions you put into your text. But be careful with this literary device. Abusing such responses may look cheesy or even make the reader feel scammed and pushed too hard. Use archetypes wisely and you’ll get a great text.
4. …and human biology, too!
Reading and writing are the activities born from speech. They activate the same centres of your brain. While you are reading, you still have an “inner speaker” who says the words with a certain pace and intonation – even if you don’t hear that reader clearly in your thoughts. Our breath adjusts to the speed of our reading and changing the breath changes heart rate and our overall feeling too. It isn’t magic. It’s biology. Try to read the two pieces of text below and see how they sound in your head. Do you feel the difference?
“It’s quiet. Too quiet for this place. Is somewhere still here? Have they gone?”
“The place was unusually silent. He didn’t know if someone heard his quiet steps. Have they already left or are there some people still waiting to greet him?”
Writing texts is as exciting as reading them. There are plenty of tips and advice, but the main one is simple: love what you do. Imagine yourself a reader of your own text. Are you satisfied? Would you be satisfied if you didn’t have the personal experience that made you write those words? If the answer is “yes” – congratulations! You do well!