Don’t make an alien of me

Convergence is one of the most important tools in language. It is the ability to extend empathy and understanding beyond yourself, and match your language to the person you wish to speak with so they can easily follow the point you are making.

It is important to recognise how you can improve your language so you can reach others, if you alienate them, then you will find yourself standing alone in the dark with thoughts only rattling like echoes through your mind.

How we talk when we talk out of our mouths 

If you have ever studied English, Journalism or Creative Writing of some kind at university; and even if you have not but are a writer, you will know undoubtedly the key to your work is always your audience. You must always know who your intended audience is. After all, they are the ones you are writing for.

 

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They will be the ones buying the book; they matter!

 

Obviously deciding your genre, topic and defining your idea, immediately gives you a general feel for what you wish to write, and gives you a clear sense as to who it is that will be interested in your story. Of course, on the bad days you believe no one will be interested and it does rather affect the confidence you have in what you are doing. But on the ok days you will think about how you are writing and will tailor things so it appeals and holds the interest of your readers.

You may do this sub-consciously, other times it may be planned.

 The Point

Language is the tool of humanity, it is the way we express, the we create, the way we make the world in our heads meet the world we all live in. A key part of using it well, it to learn how to read and adapt your language when meeting with different people and the varying situations one finds themselves in. This is called convergence, as a writer, one who makes daily practice and career from working closely and refining language and making something beautiful from it that will connect with others; convergence is a staple requirement to your arsenal.

You should recognise what kind of language to use depending on your audience. Will it be simple or complex? Will you use archaic language for an older reader, or to portray and ancient time? Or will it be more informal and colloquial to capture a younger audience of contemporary society? Will your characters have accents or idiolects displaying certain character traits?

Without this understanding, or by ignoring it, you may shoot yourself in the foot. No matter how ingenious or fantastic your creative ideas or concepts for your work may be.

 Bad Talking

Or writing should I say.

One of the easiest flaws to fall into, is to carried too carried away in your own mind. In essays teachers would often put question marks next to some of my sentences that did not make sense. They were long and over complicated, my points were convoluted and not easy for someone else to follow. Sometimes you can be carried away on the whim of a thought and write in streams of consciousness. While it can still sound utterly complex and brilliant, it is almost impossible for somebody else, outside of your head, to make sense of.

 

blabber
People zone if all they hear is blah, blah, blah

 

It shows a sense of selfishness and a lack of awareness for the audience. It shows potentially as well a piece of work that has not been so well edited. But it is always hard to edit your own work, if it makes sense to you, you will not be able to spot it may be over complicated and waffling in some areas.

 Concise

This is another key component of writing for your audience. Make every sentence count. It is ok for things to be long, but not if parts to your writing are unnecessary. It adds weight to the piece, slowing the pace, and this can lose your reader’s interest. Being succinct, and saying what you want to in simple and direct ways, is far more skilled that just whittling on.

 

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If they don’t get it, they’ll give up trying

 

This is all controversial and dependant on context. It will be up to you to decide what form of discourse best fits the medium and tone of the thing you are writing. If you know why you have made a decision and are happy with it, then stick with it.

 Quick wiv the wit

We all want to be witty. But this is not the be all and end all to writing. More important is that is entertaining and meets the purpose and demands of your audience. Trying too hard to make everything always sound clever can alienate your audience. Like with a stream of consciousness, it can make your text difficult to follow and hard for a reader to understand. Using long words, in a variety of complex sentences in a formal tone will put them off. It is ok to be clever, but again make it so it fits your audience. If you are writing a law book, obviously, those engaging with it will expect the terminology and jargon to be featured. They want to engage in an educated text where the writers know what they are on about.

 

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Trying too hard, puts people off

 

If it is a light-hearted humorous book, less common vocabulary and lengthy sentencing and structure; are unlikely to make your audience laugh and will not meet the expectations they have when choosing a book fitting in that category.

An example of this is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Undoubtedly it is an amazing book, however it is only because of its reputation that I have stuck with it long enough to begin to enjoy it. Another book that I did not know much about, I would have given up on by now. This is simply down to the first few pages, being quite difficult to get through. You can understand what is happening, but it is difficult to stick with and makes for a very slow read through. This is mainly as I must keep going back over sentences to remind myself of what was happening. Though part of this in the first chapter in intended, due to the time era it is set in, it does not change that if your reader faces an arduous task of reading your book; often they will not bother to.

 Flexibility

It is ok to be dedicated to your ideas and work. You are the writer, the one sourcing and sculpting the text that you want others to engage with. This means you exert the creative control and you make the decisions as to how you want to say things, how you wish it to be interpreted. You do also have to have some flexibility and be willing to adapt and transform your piece. As much as you are the author, most of the time, we write because we want someone else to read it. This means you need to be aware of what they want and how something will look from their perspective. You need to be open to making changes to your work if necessary so that it can do this job and so it can appeal to your market.

Editors and agents, or whatever process you may use for proofing offer feedback to give you this outsider perspective. At times, you may disagree with them and present a reason as to why you like something being a particular way. But if will not help you if you are reluctant to all advice or help someone may attempt to give you.

 If anything I have often found writing something can in a way be the easiest part. Perhaps the quickest. It is once the first draft is done that the journey become painstakingly slow. But it is because editing is a key part in making the visions of your mind fit into the language of the rest of the world you want it to become a part of.

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