You are having a conversation, but not THAT sort of conversation…
Things to avoid when writing your business book—Part Two
A mistake so many new authors make is writing as they speak. The written word comes from a different part of you to the spoken word. This is true even for those authors who dictate their writing—they dictate for the narrative word, not the conversational.
Even when we consider audio books, the writing immerses the listener in narrative; it evokes a sense of reality that impromptu conversation does not necessarily have. Whilst in conversation, the listener is usually preparing a response—when listening to audio they are imagining they are in the story-world.
When in discussion, all parties use the same parts of the brain whether they are listening or speaking. When conversing through writing and reading, the author and audience are using different areas of the brain. If they encounter a narrative tone, too similar to a spoken conversation, they will start replying in their head, rather than just letting go and enjoying the story.
Now, the written word is a form of dialogue—an interaction between you and your audience. However, the conversation is sculpted, designed and polished to very specific effect. The cadence of writing is different to that of speaking.
Simply writing down words as you would speak them (without subsequent honing of the narrative), does not come across as informality or friendliness—it provokes a defensive/offensive position, instead of a trusting relationship.
To avoid the conversation trap when you are authoring, pay particular attention to these aspects of your work…
- Shortening words such as I’m, Don’t or Wouldn’t (possessives are fine, for instance… Sandra’s car). Remember that it’s is not possessive, it is a shortened version of—it is—and therefore it is not suitable.
- I believe, I would say, In my opinion—of course you believe, you would say, it is your opinion… it is your book!
- I remember… As I recall… When I think about it… any form of conversational position that places the reader with you, rather than in the narrative world.
- We use a lot of superfluous words in spoken conversation, for example: All of the decision-making vs. all the decision making.
- Habitual words (or phrases), are another example of superfluous words, such as—do not overuse that… the people that we know/the people we know
- Vagaries, such as perhaps, maybe, should, etc. Also be sure of yourself—I was fourteen or fifteen at the time—this really does not work when immersing the reader!
When you are in debate, discussion or generally conversing with others, you are improvising, giving impromptu information, getting to the end as quickly as you can so they stay interested. When authoring, you are storytelling—even in a non-fiction, educational or business book.
You are seeking to meander along a path, so interesting, enthralling and profound, your audience follows. You are creating a trusting relationship. You are focusing on the effect your words are having upon the reader as they journey onwards…
The Kara Sutra is the Author’s Way of using the written word as a powerful tool (from the Sanskrit Kara, author/creator, and Sutra, law). A tool that impacts the reader and transforms their lives in some way.
In this series of blogs, author and ghost writer, Martyn Pentecost, explores the foundations of authoring through a series of Author Laws… The Kara Sutra.