Better Writing: Don’t Over-Introduce

One way to improve your writing is to cut out unnecessary introductions. Sometimes history, background information, and other pre-story details just get in the way. This is true with any genre of writing, but especially in novels. It is one thing to have a reader get bored and stop reading a 500 word article because there is just too much “fluff” at the beginning. It is another thing to have your novel rejected on the count that the action of the story, the interesting part, takes forever to come.

In articles, and other forms of writing, it is important to get to the point. Draw the reader in with something exciting, shocking, confusing, or compelling. You can explain later, once they are interested in learning. Spare your readers of the frivolous details that the story can really do without. As you write and edit, trim the extra words and details that do nothing to inform the reader of information that is crucial to understanding the story.

If you deliberately leave out details from the very beginning, make sure that you do tell the reader enough to make them care about the rest. All of your writing, if you want people to read it, should have an ultimate meaning geared towards the interests of the reader. Do you want them to learn, think, click, purchase something, get angry, donate money, laugh, cry, or smile? Your opening should lay the foundation for building the story in such a way that will produce the desired result.

Keep the purpose of your piece in mind during the entire process, and get rid of anything that does not directly move towards the ultimate goal.

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