Once you start writing, it doesn’t take long before you hear the advice to “write tight.” To the veteran authors who tell this to new authors it makes perfect sense, but sometimes it confuses new authors. After all, isn’t the idea to wow readers with your brilliant word usage?
Actually, that isn’t the idea. Author’s create a product for consumers, their readers. Yes, we want to offer them quality products, but we also need to write something they’ll want to read. This may come as a surprise to many, but readers don’t really want to read brilliant words and extravagant construction; they want to read a good story.
But they’re the same thing, you might say. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When an author’s brilliant words open the door to a new time or world and invites them into the lives of the characters, yes the two are the same. But when an author’s purpose is to showcase how brilliantly he can use words, especially if he goes on and on about something in particular or insists on using obscure words and complex sentence structure, then the story ends up taking a back seat. In some cases, the story is almost lost because the reader focuses so much on the words themselves instead of the pictures for the mind’s eye those words are supposed to create.
The author may accomplish his goal and have a fantastically written novel, but it might still be a flop once it hits the markets. Why? The reason is simple. He didn’t deliver the story to the readers. Instead, he delivered words, phrases, and sentences. And those constructions overwhelmed the story to the point that the readers couldn’t see beyond them to just enjoy the story.
When an author’s main focus, however, is the enjoyment of the reader, the writing becomes more natural and inviting. It gives the readers what they’re looking for: a story that can give them a thrilling ride away from their everyday world for a brief period.