Sunday, October 28, 2012

Make Your Meaning Clear

Editing Tip of the Week - 10/28/12

Nothing loses a reader's interest faster than confusing and unclear writing. It's an experience similar to the current reaction reported regarding the newly released film Cloud Atlas. Movie goers just aren't "getting" this ambitious and complicated film.

Lack of clarity can show up in both fiction and nonfiction books. For instance, I am often asked to do a final polish of a novel - a basic copyedit, which includes notes on clarity, consistency, and flow, as well as grammar, punctuation, etc. A recent novel I reviewed was beautifully written, but needed grounded. In parts of scenes, the words looked nice on the page, but what was actually happening was unclear. Also unclear sometimes was the location of a character within the scene, and who was talking.

In nonfiction, lack of clarity is often the result of writing at too high a level - where a professional might understand, but the average reader needs simplified explanations. Or some of the pieces of the background may be missing. In certain cases, word choice could be more precise.

A professional editor can be of tremendous help in assisting you in making your writing clearer. Email me at if you need help with this. Let me be your book whisperer.

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