Error on the side of Intelligence

Okay, shameless plug happening first! ‘Daughter of Hauk’ is currently on sale via an Amazon countdown deal! Which means there’s a little ticker next to the price, warning you how long before the price rises again! Go grab a copy before it goes up!

Now that that’s out of the way (seriously, go buy a copy), I want to talk about something else. And that’s how we, as authors, should error on the side of intelligence. We need to write with the assumption that the person reading our book is smart. Because NO ONE wants to be talked down to.

I’m working a second (third? fourth?) job right now through the end of the year. It’s a retail gig, whose sole purpose is to help us save up as the youngest will need braces next summer. And I have a co-worker who believes everyone is stupid. Not the customers, no. Everyone who has the same job as her, same training, is vastly short in common sense and the ‘gift’ she can give them is to interject her opinion into each and every conversation. Does not matter if I’ve been owned by cats most of my life…she needs to tell me the best way to give them medicine because she assumes you’re ignorant unless she herself has enlightened you.

I cringe every time I see her at the next register. I really do.

The problem isn’t just her, though. Authors do this. A lot. And it makes me want to throw my Kindle out the window or the book into the fireplace. We absolutely must write like our readers can follow the story without reminders every three pages. It’s one thing to tell them your main character is a cop. It’s another to say it six times in three pages! It’s annoying, it’s repetitive, your reviewers will call you out for it, and your sales will tank. Why?

Because NO ONE likes to feel stupid.

So, write a book like you want to read one. Intelligently, with a plot that can be followed without repetition of facts. A mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes without constant references to the color of his smoking jacket. A suspense novel where you aren’t constantly reminding the reader that the antagonist has a moustache. A fantasy where you aren’t describing the wings on a fairy each time one appears.

Readers are smart. Give them credit for that. Don’t talk down to them.


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