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Trust and clarity

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by WyrdMystic, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. WyrdMystic

    WyrdMystic Inkling

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    So, I have had samples out with readers for a while. They have all come back and, from exactly the same piece, half say I’m not clear enough and they have no idea what’s going on — the other half say I am too clear and too specific and I should lay off the detail a bit and trust my readers more.

    So, my question — how do you find the balance between being specific and allowing your readers to use their own imagination?
     
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Not only is this a tough call, but it's so incredibly important. You risk losing readers either way.

    Your best bet, I think, is to get to know your beta readers and to figure out which you trust the most. Alternately, get more input.

    EDIT: The most important advice, though, is to go with your gut. Have you clearly laid out what you want the reader to understand? If yes, then let it go. Some people aren't going to understand. That's okay. If you haven't, strengthen it. Ultimately, the one responsible for figuring out what is wrong with your piece is you. The best you can hope for from beta readers is for them to point out the problems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
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  3. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Get your beta readers to specify exactly what it is they think isn't clear enough or too rigorously stated. If they bring up the same things, you've probably got a decent balance so you can forget about those things. Where there are differences, though, that's where you need to work on things and either cut or add accordingly.
     
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  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I'm going to hop on board with BWfoster on this.

    I have this one person in my writing group who has a very literal mind and has problems when there are phrases like I'm so hungry I'm going to eat an elephant when I get home. or Heaven is just the bottom floor. This person constantly tells me they don't understand what those mean an that those phrases are confusing.

    So... yeah. There will always be people who just won't get it for what ever reason, and the opposite is true too. Some people will just be in sync with what you're doing and it'll work for them even when the other 99% of the people won't have a clue.

    As mentioned by Chilari, get them to tell you why they think it's confusing or if it's too over stated. Take that information and try to see it from their perspective. And then make a determination for yourself if they're just the guy in my writing group who just can't process metaphors very well or are they spot on.

    Also sometimes problems pointed out aren't actually the problems. They're symptoms of other issues. So think on what others have to say, process the info, and put it either in the ignore pile or the use pile.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
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  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I had a similar experience. Guy was always harping on me to explain more. What helped me get over it was reading a novel he wrote. Dude overexplained so much that it ruined the writing.
     
  6. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    ...And if they won't give you specifics, find new beta readers.
     
  7. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    From your post, it seems maybe the problem is that you focus in on details?

    It's possible that the people complaining you have too many details are the types of readers that read every word and don't care to read about that crap. On the other hand, the people complaining you don't explain enough, may be the type of people that are getting lost in the details.

    Maybe it's not that you're not explaining enough, but rather that you are not being effective in your explanations.

    Without more information this is all wild hypothesizing of course.
     
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  8. WyrdMystic

    WyrdMystic Inkling

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    Wild hypothesizing is exactly what im after at the moment :D
     
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