Save Your Reader
From Episode 13 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes
Each week we release a new story and two Storyteller Tactics cards from the deck, launching on Kickstarter later this year.
What is the Save your Reader story tactic?
Are your blogs full of buzzwords? Nobody reading your newsletters? Save your reader from bad writing!
When you sit down to write your story, think to yourself "nobody is forced to read this. I've got to make it as easy as possible." SAVE your reader's time and effort by choosing words which are:
Short - Active - Visual - Empathetic
Then test your writing. Re-write and test again.
How to use the Save your Reader tactic
Start with your first draft story. Go through it and see where you can use:
1. Short words: These are the most commonly used and widely understood words we know. Paste your story into a text tool like Up-Goer. It will show common, short words vs tricky, longer ones.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short too.
2. Active words: Don't say "concerns were expressed." Tell me who said what, who to, and what happened. Passive writing is a fudge. Active writing fires up the brain!
3. Visual words: We understand meaning by running a visual simulation in our heads. We literally "see" what you mean. If you're talking about your work, describe a single moment where something happens (use the Movie Time tool).
If you need to write about abstract concepts, fire up the Metaphor Engine tool.
4. Empathetic words: I used to say to people "don't use jargon!" But now I say "it depends on your audience." Some technical words show that you belong to a certain group, that you have a "right" to be in that conversation. For example, if you're talking to designers, use the term UX.
Three golden rules of empathy:
- Get to know your audience, listen to the words they use.
- Don't assume everyone knows any new word you use.
- Never use a technical term you don't fully understand.
Run your text through a readability checker (search https://readabilityformulas.com/)
If you're writing for a general audience, aim for a readability score of 12-14 years old. I know you're not writing for kids, but you are writing for busy people.They might be reading this on their phone. Why make it hard for them?
🤔 Confused? Enlightened?
Let us know! We are still developing Storyteller Tactics. Drop us an email with your feedback. We reply to every single one.
- Charles & Steve.