Readable Writing Rule #1: Keep it Simple

You’re writing a book!

It’s describes your great new idea, and it’s intended for the popular press. That is, for regular folks, not experts.

So – what style of writing should you use?

Unless there’s a good reason not to, keep it simple.

Always remember why you’re writing: to persuade or move your readers. The best way to do that is to keep it simple. Don’t try to impress your readers with 50-cent words or overly-complex sentences. Just talk to them. Say what you want to say in simple, clear English.

Resist the temptation to be amazing! Instead, just “talk” to your readers.

Inspiring, or yawn-inducing? 

“I have a dream…” Four little words, simple, clear, powerful.

Much better than: “Impulses speeding along the neurons of my frontal lobes, leaping across the synaptic gaps, presenting themselves to me in the form of, as it were, a nocturnal visitation, coupled with simultaneous impulses in the speech and movement sections of my cortex, have compelled me to express this thought.”

Shakespeare, or schlock?

“To be or not to be, that is the question,” is clear and to the point.

It’s much better than: “When reflecting upon the relationship between the pre-deceased and post-living, one cannot help but be struck by the magnitude of advantages inevitably accruing to the individual terminating the former state, yet, simultaneously, measure the aforementioned advantages against the potential deleterious outcome arising from the above -referenced activity.”

The point is to express ideas, not dazzle the readers with your word mastery

Dazzled readers become baffled readers who put your book down and tell their friends not to buy it. So keep it simple.

But don’t worry about looking simplistic, for using simple language does not mean that your writing will be simple-minded. Simple words, placed in simple but elegant sentences, can express complex ideas and convey powerful emotions.

In blogs to follow, I’ll give you more rules for Readable Writing – rules you can easily master and use to help make your writing “sing.”

For more ways to make your writing sparkle, see “Readable Writing Review.”

I’m Barry Fox, a New York Times #1 bestselling ghostwriter. I help executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and top professionals create top-notch memoirs and business books. I can also guide you through the self-publishing process. Call me at 818-917-5362.