Trusting the Reader

Trusting the Reader - How to Write Better

I have trust issues. Goes back a ways.

I have felt for most of my life the need to completely explain a thing – so there is no gray, no miscommunication, no room for error. Thus my often asides.

(Waco hates asides in my writing – but she’s a reader, quite well read, and sees asides as a distraction. Recently read Harper Lee’s new Watchman. Said it was good. I call her Scout now.)

I am trying to learn to trust more. Trust the reader to get it when I am trying to be clever. To fill in blanks because they can. To not worry if they might “miss” the point.

I’m getting there. I just need to believe you readers are smarter than you look.


Pondering this morning I realized a huge reason why I use asides. It’s not just for you, dear struggling reader, it’s so you won’t assume I’m not in on my own joke. That’s ego. Not pretty.



15 Comments on “Trusting the Reader”

  1. koolaidmoms says:

    I am the queen of asides. I think it is my need to be snarky. Never thought about it being a distraction. Hmmm, something to think about now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In truth, asides have their place. The aside in the article above provides a chuckle. Asides in humorous writing are almost a necessity.

      When I write non-fiction, asides also introduce humor.

      But when I write fiction I use far too many.

      Liked by 1 person

      • countingsheepstudio says:

        The most frustrating is speaking to someone who uses so many, you completely forget what they were talking about in the first place! At least you have enough sense to call yourself out on it. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. guess it depends on who’s reading… your regulars will understand you, for sure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. drshellking says:

    I’ve read that as writers we’re not “supposed” to write parenthetical statements under certain conditions, however I have found that they often clarify the writer’s thoughts to the reader. Some of us master this, some of us don’t; I’m one who doesn’t do well with them. Your own “aside” as you put it is a perfect example of use of the parenthetical statement used to illustrate and clarify a position, making English professors everywhere eat their words. Hats off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m practically perfect in every way, Shell. Just like Mary Poppins.

      I’ve been delving into EvoBio this morning. My head hurts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • drshellking says:

        I write a lot on that subject. Let me know if you would like any clarification once you head stops hurting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, I probably will.

        I’ve been over at and reading through the posts there where creationists spout the latest in “almost sciency” stuff, are pointed out (with cited studies) why we know they are mistaken, then change the subject or simply deny they made an assertion.

        It has gotten old.

        I’m actually thinking through a different tack to take with Brian – he’s somewhat (or more) of a narcissist. I thought I might discuss with him why it’s so important to discuss this topic with atheists. If it’s curiosity, then I can direct him to resources where he can get all the info he needs as well as ask questions of people who do the science every day. If he claims it is to convert, I might ask him why he would choose the hardest group to convert.

        What I suspect, especially after his need to show me so many things about how “amazing” his life is last night, is he is driven by his narcissism to “prove” his superiority.

        If that’s the case, then kindly caring about him, not talking about evolution, is likely a better strategy.

        Or sending him to you for therapy…

        But if you meant by “I write a lot on that subject” that you write about Mary Poppins, I’m all ears.

        Liked by 1 person

      • drshellking says:

        Let me email you…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What are you trying to say? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wildfire8470 says:

    Funny! I struggle to not explain and have heard advice to keep the writing between 6th and 8th grade reading level. I’m not sure I trust the reader or the advice. I trust that I have worked too hard to start ‘dumbing it down’ now. Trust yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s more about “smartening it up” for me – I have felt in the past I needed to make sure I explained everything to the reader. Now I want to trust them more to fill in the blanks. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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