How Not To Sound Like A Pretentious Writer

By on February 20, 2018
How Not To Sound Like A Pretentious Writer - Writer's

When it comes to writing, whether fact or fiction, it is easy to sound pretentious. This can happen for many reasons be it that our egos want the reader to know how intelligent we are, or that we think readers won’t enjoy our writing if we don’t make it as smart as possible.

However, the problem with putting too much effort into writing intellectually is that not only does it slow us down and make us overthink things, it can also act as a distraction when it comes to getting out point across or advancing our plot.

So what can you do to ensure that you don’t sound like a pretentious writer? Follow these useful tips.

Check your language

Using an abundance of long and complicated words could put your reader off. Every time they have to check the meaning of a word, you have effectively taken them out of the story. If this happens too often it will be impossible to keep up, either they just won’t be able to immerse themselves in your novel, or they just won’t understand it! Reading your writing aloud to get an idea of whether it flows well or feels too convoluted and complicated is also a good idea.

Identify your reader

When it comes to avoiding pretentious writing, knowing who your reader is can help. Think about who you are hoping will read and appreciate your work. If you are writing a fictitious story for the general population, you should try to avoid creating a piece of writing that is overly complex. The average reading level for an adult American is that of a 7th or 8th grader, and aged nine years old in the UK, so it is essential to bear this in mind as you write.

Have fun with your writing

Writing should be fun and if you are having fun and enjoying what you do you are less likely to get bogged down in trying to make your writing seem too clever. Your enjoyment and enthusiasm will come through in your book and will mean your readers enjoy reading your work more too. The more sincere and truthful you are with your story the more genuine and authentic it will seem too.

Don’t over complicate your plot

An overly complicated plot can be difficult to follow and can confuse your readers. While it’s great to be smart and surprise your readers if you try too hard to confuse them or make your story too complicated to follow they’ll soon lose interest and may give up altogether.

Don’t over punctuate

Over punctuating or trying to be too smart with your use of punctuation can also be considered pretentious and may be off-putting to your reader. Some authors do choose to use punctuation as a stylistic technique in their writing. However, if you aren’t sure it works, it’s probably best to leave it out.

By following the tips above you can ensure your writing doesn’t come across as pretentious or confusing, while still being able to write with style. Remember, you can write however you like, but if you want your writing to be enjoyed by others you do always have to keep your reader in mind!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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