Editing lessons I have learned from tradies #9

(with apologies to all the excellent tradies out there)

Architecture encapsulates space. A good architectural design will draw your eye to a particular feature. Grand stairways are designed not just for foot traffic but to draw the eye into the house, to invite the onlooker in.

This rather imposing stairway does draw your eye into the entrance to the house but...hang on...where’s the door? Oh, it’s over there to the right!

Did you feel a sense of let-down (after you stopped laughing) when you saw that the door was off-centre? You expected it to be in a certain place but it was not where your eye had been led.

Readers feel cheated somehow if they feel that they have been misled. One sure-fire way of not getting the results you desire from what you’ve written is to bring in a new character towards the end of your story, place too much emphasis on a minor point, say you’re going to explain something but then don’t, and so on.

All writing, from a book to a brochure, leads to an outcome – the girl gets the handsome prince, the boy grows up, buy my product, call us to make an appointment. Having a clear goal or outcome in mind before beginning to write will ensure that your writing stays on track and that your reader is satisfied and anticipating with enthusiasm what you write next.


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