The other day I was wearing a pair of leggings when Mother Dearest pointed out that my underwear was visible underneath and then proceeded to point, laugh, and pronounce that my leggings were too tight. To which I proclaimed, “They’re not too tight, they’re just see-through!” Apparently, this was not much better.
Now, you’re probably wondering if there is a point to my story. There is. You see, writers should not be transparent in their writings, unlike my leggings which looked fabulous thank you very much Mum. No, writers must dazzle the reader with their prowess while forcing them to think about what is underneath the surface. It wouldn’t be any fun being a reader after all, if one was given all of the answers without first asking the question.
Let your reader come to their own conclusions.
Here are my top tips for eliminating transparency in your writing:
- Show don’t tell. Okay, so this one is pretty obvious. If you tell the reader all the information you are not allowing them to think for themselves, also it gets pretty boring.
- Don’t give the reader all of the information. Give the reader the bare minimum of information they need to understand your writing. Allow them to imagine possible scenarios and second guess decisions. You can tie all the loose ends up in the conclusion, but leave room in the middle for your reader to explore.
- Create conflict. Conflict is important in creating round characters, interesting plots, and challenging readers.
- Don’t overuse metaphor and simile. I’ve seen a lot of writing that is heavy on metaphor and simile. Not only does it become tedious for the reader, but it also confuses the point you as a writer are trying to make. Use metaphor and similes sparingly and wisely.