Mistake 27: Lecturing the Reader

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: No one likes to be lectured. Not even in school, where they pay to be lectured. Think back to your favorite teachers. Did they tell or show? Readers buy fiction to be entertained. They buy others forms of writing to be informed, but they usually want that information to come in a format that is palatable and easily digestible or, even better, entertaining. Too often writers see fiction as a vehicle for disseminating their views on some subject, and they plainly lecture the reader on those views.

The solution:
Entertain the reader. Layer any themes and intent inside of an entertaining story. Show, don’t tell, and let the reader interpret what he wants from that showing. The best writing keeps the reader thinking long after she is done with the story. This type of writing works on several levels: It works on a base level of pure entertainment. And then it works on a more contemplative level, causing the reader to think things through and consider the characters’
actions and choices.

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