These 5 keys can be used in any genre of writing. Whether you are writing for fiction or non-fiction readers, professionals reading your reports or websites, magazine readers perusing your articles or followers reading your blogs, you can craft compelling text over and over again with these 5 keys as your guide.
Key #1: Use Clear, Concise Language
Clear, concise language allows you to say more with fewer words. I cannot emphasize enough how important this technique is for all your writing projects. Clear, concise language allows you to craft economical and highly focused sentences giving your readers a lot of information in a small amount of time and space.
Does this technique work for novel writing?
Yes, it does. Even if, for example, your novel has a very verbose main character or is rich with descriptive passages, the supporting storyline can be refined and focused by reworking the sentences.
Here’s an example from my adaptation of the classic novel, Heidi. This is the draft opening paragraph I wrote for a children’s publisher in Korea:
On a clear sunny morning two figures climb the narrow mountain path. Detie is a tall strong-looking young woman leading a girl named, Heidi, by the hand. Heidi’s parents both died when she was very small and Detie, her aunt, has looked after her since she was a baby. Heidi is now all of five years old and Detie is taking her to live with her Grandfather. Heidi’s Grandfather lives high on the mountain where the land grows wilder as it ascends. The fragrance of the short grasses and mountain plants fill the air and lead the way up to the steep summit above.
Here is the final version of the same paragraph:
On a clear sunny morning two people were climbing the narrow mountain path. Detie, a tall strong-looking young woman, was leading a girl named Heidi, by the hand. Heidi had a heart-shaped face, short curly brown hair and had just turned five years old. Heidi’s parents both died when she was a baby and Detie, her aunt, had been taking care of her ever since. Detie had recently accepted a job in Frankfurt and could not take Heidi with her. She decided to take Heidi to live with her Grandfather. Heidi’s Grandfather lived high on the mountain where the land grew wilder as it became higher. Heidi could smell the short grasses and mountain plants as she looked up to the steep point above her.
Even though the final version is longer and includes more description, I refined the sentences and the language to express more with fewer words. I also described the surroundings through Heidi’s own senses bringing the reader into Heidi’s world. This allowed the reader to smell and see, through Heidi, what climbing that mountain path was like for her.
The intended audience was children between the ages of 9 and 12 years old. Being descriptive and using simple language were two essential criteria for this project.
Do non-fiction, business and blog writing lend themselves to clear, concise content?
Non-fiction, business and blog writing do lend themselves to simple, succinct language because the writer is explaining their ideas or telling their stories. The reader may not know anything about the subject matter before they begin reading, but they want to know and therefore the writer focuses on clear language to get their ideas across.
Magazines, business reports, websites and blogs all cater to readers who don’t have a lot of time to take in information they need and want to know. That is why writing in these genres should be the most focused of all, eliminating extraneous words, ideas or information that don’t specifically relate to the topic of the article, report, website or blog.
What do all these different genres have in common?
All these genres have in common writers who want their readers to keep reading and come back for more. Not only do writers want their readers to finish reading their books, articles, reports, websites and blogs, but they want their readers to come back. Getting to the point and staying on point is one of the key ways to keep your readers engaged and enthusiastic about coming back and reading more.