Trust Your Reader

Greg is blogging this week about the importance of trusting your reader as related to potentially challenging vocabularly or references.

He talks about how critical it is to maintaining the authenticity of the point of view and secondary characters.

I’d like to offer another example or two.

Dialogue is too often filled with thinly veiled exposition. Here’s an example:

“Son, I was just thinking about our people, those the white man call ‘the Creek’–“

“Yes, Father, but we call ourselves ‘Mvskoke’ and–“

Nobody talks this way. Nobody has ever talked this way–outside of the aforementioned fiction and the occasional John Wayne movie. And what’s the kid doing interrupting his dad right then anyway?

Characters shouldn’t be mouthpieces for this kind of forced background information. It should be seamlessly integrated.

Another variation in children’s/YA books with social justice themes is to have a character, especially an adult character (elder, teacher, grandparent, social worker), state the lesson the writer hopes that young readers will take away.

Trusting your reader in part means letting them come to those conclusions for themselves. Then they’ll own the perspective and it will resonate with them in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Cynsational News & Links

Greg also talks this week about how one should Go Not To The Elves For Counsel…

Distractions and the Writers Who Love Them by Krysten Weller from Young Adult Books Central.

Lisa Yee’s Blog is now online. Lisa is the author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius (Arthur A. Levine, 2003), winner of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. In other blog news, Avenging Sybil takes a look at female teen sexuality in YA novels. Note: I found out about both of these blogs from E. Lockhart.