Beep! Beep! Is Your Writing Backing Up?

Photo via morgueFile.com  License Info: http://www.morguefile.com/license/morguefile

Photo via morgueFile.com
License Info: http://www.morguefile.com/license/morguefile

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! You sense it almost like hearing the back-up warning on a big truck. There’s something off with your approach to writing but you can’t find the source. Here are 5 reasons your writing may be backing up on your readers:

1. Why your writing could be backing up. K. M. Weiland wrote an excellent blog that addresses writing sentences correctly but also incorrectly. Mainly, this discusses where you are pointing the reader with “grammatically correct” sentences. You may be technically correct but cueing the reader with the wrong emphasis.

2. You need to get linear. If you are using a lot of complex sentences your writing be out of logical sequence. What is non-linear writing? This occurs when a sentence has words like, “when”, “as”, etc. There are often multiple actions occurring in the sentence such as this but everything is out of order. Try using MRU’s – short for motivation-reaction units where a clear, external, motivational action occurs and then internal reaction.

3. Passive Voice. Avoid using so many helping verbs except in dialogue. Or, you can try using a deeper POV – recommended reading: Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View.

4. Reliance on too many modifiers. Check your adjectives and adverbs. Is the adverb you’re using actually necessary. If you are using several adjectives at a time trying choosing the strongest one and make sure it’s not redundant. Check this post for the link to using adverbs well.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

5. Prepositional phrases that tell. Remove prepositional phrases that tell. The Rivet Your Readers book mentioned above has a great list of these. Why avoid such phrases as, “in dismay”? This tells the reader the emotion instead of showing them. This does not mean get rid of all prepositional phrases, just the ones similar to the example.

Remember: go forward rather than letting your writing back up.

Are you writing sentences out of order? Are you pointing your readers to the wrong place with incorrect emphasis? Where can you improve your writing for more reader engagement? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

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Photo via morgueFile.com

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