Don’t Want to be a Boring Writer? How to Electrify Your Readers

Do you want to be a boring writer?

No, of course you don’t!

But how to avoid it?

Do you sometimes read a piece that moves at an agonizingly slow pace? I do. Well, let me be honest here – I tend to read only the first paragraph, and then I put the boring book aside or flick over to another website.

Boring is bad. Boring is slow.

Enter Sol Stein. A master-editor who knows a trick or two. His book Stein On Writing
lies on my bedside table and is a source of constant inspiration.

Stein’s take on ‘boring’ is that we need to accelerate the pace of our pieces. This means compressing the perceived flow of time.

Pace is often the deciding factor whether you bore or electrify your readers.

That’s especially true when it comes to stuff we publish on the Net, as internet savvy readers all seem to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder.

The good news is that we can learn to control the pace of our writing.

Sol Stein suggests three techniques to speed things up which can be used in fiction as well as nonfiction.

1. Use short sentences

Here is an example: I stopped. The silence was awful.

2. Use frequent paragraphs

Frequent paragraphs move the reader forward. One way to use frequent paragraphing is to use dialogue. Because each line is really a separate paragraph. While it’s enlivening to use direct dialogue in non-fiction, it’s sometimes difficult to find a way to place it. Another way to use dialogue is as a conversation with your reader. Here’s an example by Brian Clark of CopyBlogger fame in this Teaching Sells Report:

Want to have a profitable online business?

Here’s the part where I tell you all about how fabulous it is to have a purely online
business.

And then I tell you how you can have the lifestyle you want, live where you want,
and have unlimited income potential -all from publishing online.

What’s that?

You mean you’ve already heard all that stuff?

Oh… You’ve already been sold the dream, over and over.

Now you’re looking for a way to make the dream come true that actually works?

OK.

Let’s just jump straight to that part.

That’s beautifully written, isn’t it? It’s engaging and enlivening. The reason it’s enlivening is because of the pace is accelerated through ultra-short paragraphs.

3. Use jump cuts

Sol Stein suggests skipping about two-thirds of your words in order to increase the pace. Here are two of his examples:

Version A:
In the morning he would shower, brush his teeth, shave, dress in a suitable business suit with shirt and tie, get down to the kitchen in time to have his coffee and then rush off to the station, but he’d frequently missed his train anyhow.

Version B:
He washed his body, shaved his jaw, drank his coffee, and missed the seven-thirty-one.
(This is what John Cheever wrote in his celebrated story “The Country Husband”)

So, here are Sol Stein’s three techniques to accelerate the pace – all ready to put into your writer’s tool box. But don’t just leave them in there. Bring them out and use them next time you wonder whether your piece is boring.

 

 

RECENT POSTS

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

Rising Action in a Story (Or, Why Your WIP Might Suck)

Have you ever told somebody that you started a book but you just couldn't get into it? Have you ever picked up a book and struggled through the first page, the first chapter, even the first half, only to stop reading entirely? You may even have a bookshelf dedicated...

Exposition in a Story: Why You Need to Get It Right

Has anyone ever told you that your story was good, but included too much info-dumping?  Or maybe you’ve read a fantasy novel and found yourself unable to get through the first chapter because, no matter how hard you tried to pay attention, you couldn’t get past...

JOIN OVER 2 MILLION READERS

WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK TO BE A BESTSELLER?

Then you need KDP Rocket – the killer advantage of pro authors.

Related Posts

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

How to Avoid an Editing Nightmare

How to Avoid an Editing Nightmare

If you’re serious about making your book the best it can be, or you’ve been around the publishing/self-publishing arena for awhile, then you know the benefits of professional editing for your book.  There are lots of people claiming to be freelance professional...

About The Author

Mary Jaksch

Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

Latest Posts

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

What Is the Climax of a Story?

What Is the Climax of a Story?

Have you ever noticed that once you get about three-quarters into a book, you have to finish it?  That’s because you’ve likely run into the climax. And when the climax of a book is good, it becomes impossible to put down. Learning to write a compelling climax...

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

Storytelling is a different kind of writing. Often, voice trumps grammar. Of course, your writing needs to be easily understood by the reader, but it’s crucial that the voice of your writing is strong.  Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, both genres employ...

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

>