Whether it to inform, entertain, persuade, cajole, encourage, remind or simply to amuse, we have failed if we do not engage the reader. That means keeping the reader in the forefront of our minds throughout the creative process. Our primary focus should be, ‘What do they need?’ If we do not meet their expectations, it is likely they will stop reading, and we will have lost our audience.
Capturing the reader starts with an appeal to their senses, carried by a headline or the opening words of a paragraph. In a newspaper, we might equally use an illustration. To keep the reader though, we need something more. They need a sense that they will get from the text whatever it was that compelled them to start reading in the first place. Whether it is drama, excitement or simply information, the reader will be making that assessment with every word they encounter.
Once captured, keeping the reader is as much about avoiding disappointment as it is about feeding the desire. This is where we start to focus on the detail. Poor sentence structure, ambiguity, arcane language, incorrect punctuation or spelling mistakes all disappoint and detract from the reader’s engagement. Getting that right is just as important as keeping the momentum of the narrative and fulfilling the promise of those introductory words.
In this course, we look at the elements of structure, style, correctness and impact on the reader, while encouraging participants to evaluate examples of their own work and of others on the course.
The workshop aims to provide participants an awareness of the key elements of writing effectively and with the opportunity to review and receive feedback on some of their own writing.
By the end of the workshop, you will be able to: