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Not only is it difficult to know how much information to give readers so they know what’s going on, it’s also tricky knowing when to give it to them.
There are many ways to do it right, but there are two very specific ways to do it wrong.
One is signposting, where you say up front what’s about to happen, and then it happens. You end up stealing your own thunder.
The other is burying the lead, where you put off mentioning the elephant in the room, so that when you do eventually bring it up not only is everyone taken by surprise, but now it appears to be a teleporting elephant.
When you tell someone a story in person, you probably know the person you’re talking to. You will at least have a rough idea of how familiar they are with the people and places you’re referring to. And if you misjudge, they can always ask you questions.
In fiction, it’s much harder to know exactly how much information a reader needs or wants. And even if you did, it would be impossible to provide since you’ll have more than one reader, and each will have different requirements.
You can’t get the balance right, because there is no way to please everyone.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it wrong. You may not be able to please all the people all the time, but you can certainly piss them all off.
No matter how techie our lives have become, good writing is still a requirement to succeed at school and professionally. Good writing helps see in the world from a different angle, may be cathartic and most of all, good writing may be a pleasure.
One of the things that fascinates me the most about being hardwired for STORY, is the stories we tell ourselves. How much of those stories are true, and how much are lies? And are we even aware when we lie to ourselves?
A look at inner stories and how a writer can use the inner stories of characters to further plot.
10 Ways to Overcome Creativity's No.1 Crusher PsychCentral.com (blog) 10 Ways to Overcome Creativity's No.1 Crusher “The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt,” wrote Sylvia Plath in her journal. And she couldn't have been more accurate.
Love #1. It is the power of the stories we tell ourselves that determine who we become.
"1. Remember self-doubt is a story.
As Davidson said, thinking you’re not good at something doesn’t make it true. Her art teacher triggered her self-doubt, but it was the stories spinning in Davidson’s mind that stopped her from creating. And these disempowering tales were clearly distorted."
Here’s the full text of a piece I wrote for The Magazine a few months ago. I really enjoyed writing it, and would like to thank Marco once again for publishing it there. If you haven’t checked out The...
"It’s with all this in mind that we came together to make Editorially, a new collaborative writing and editing platform. We believe that the web is not merely another distribution pipeline, but a unique and deserving space for both reading and writing. Our goal is to support and encourage that writing process — from the first flash of inspiration all the way through to publication, and at every point in between.
"Editorially achieves this goal in many ways: a Markdown-based writing environment lets you focus on the words and create clean markup easily; collaboration tools let you invite friends and trusted colleagues to review or edit your work; a document version system lets you mark points in a document’s history and compare versions to see what changed; notes and activity feeds encourage you to reflect on your work, for yourself and for others; and discussion threads recognize that the conversation around a text is just as important as the text itself.
"And we’re only getting started. This is not just another text editor: it’s an ecosystem for the writing process. We’ve designed a space that brings you closer to both the words and the people — the only things that matter."
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