They’ll Read Your Story But Not Your Mind

I recently wrote about trusting your readers. I said you didn’t have to wrap your essay up neatly or bash them over the head explaining how you felt about the thing you just wrote. Here’s the part I left out: You do have to make sure to give your reader all the information they need to know.

Imagine you’re writing about your eight-year-old self. It may seem to you that your actions in a scene were clear and your motivations were obvious. However, you must remember that your reader doesn’t actually know you and almost certainly didn’t know eight-year-old you. It’s a delicate balance, this explaining without explaining. Remember all the devices you have in your toolkit that can help you convey your message: dialogue, scene, flashback (yes, you can include a flashback your younger self is having), and others. Keep it interesting by weaving the necessary details into the background so your reader feels like they know you and they never question your story.

When you lay out all the dots for your readers, your reader will connect them. You just have to make sure all the dots are there.

Nonfiction Know-How: Emotional Misuse

As essayists, we like to give our readers All The Feels. But sometimes too many feels can get in the way of the reads. Learn how to balance the emotions in your writing to produce more complete and accessible works and to make strong emotion stand out in this month’s Nonfiction Know-How.

How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:

Basic YeahWrite guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry;
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid;
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message;
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge; and
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog.

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…

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About the author:

Michelle submitted her first entry to YeahWrite in March 2012 and they haven’t been able to get rid of her since. After nearly 20 years in the insurance/employee benefits industry, she decided to give it all up to pursue writing full time. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post and xoJane, as well as several local sites near her northern NJ home. She blogs at Michelle Longo.

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