Remain inconspicuous

Remain inconspicuous

A writer’s job is to communicate. No matter how impressive your sentence construction, how technically correct the grammar or how powerful the vocabulary, so long as the idea remains ambiguous to the reader, the writer has failed.

Too many writers forget this basic statute of writing: that idea alone is the hero of a written draft. If the presence of the author is felt while reading, the reader tends to get distracted and loses focus. The author should be inconspicuous. The paradox is that the final impact of a well-written article often leads to an “a-ha!” reaction from the reader, who will want to know about the author.

If the intention is to confuse/mislead the reader, then by all means write like that. But, if you wish that your writings be read and understood, then it follows that you write only to communicate…resist the temptation of blending with the article/story.

8 Replies to “Remain inconspicuous”

  1. I agree, and most beginning writers are so preoccupied with form that content becomes obscured with embellishments, although, honestly, I began as such. Manoj, I realize from what you wrote that the author should be a selfless, anonymous donor of great ideas, whose care for the reader should be foremost on his mind.

    May I add, great writers are usually recognized posthumously. Some, become overnight sensations of pop culture. Would they be adjudged great? I believe it’s for history to decide. Good point of view, Friend.

  2. Thanks Tom.
    The recognition of pop-culture authors is fleeting…it goes as quickly as it comes! And greatness is subjective…its definition differs from person to person. To me, great writers are those who manage to touch my heart and soul. BTW, in terms of their writing skills, which are your top five favourite writers?

  3. My top favourite writers are:

    1. Anne Rice – Her breathtaking handling of detail
    2. Eric Nylund of “Game of Universe” – His superb plotting and foreshadowing
    3. Jack McKinney of “Hostile Takeover” – Postmodern description and inescapable humour
    4. Kahlil Gibran – His “Children”, sublime and golden-tongued
    5. Philip Booth – Simple worded but profound meaning of “First Lesson

    How about yours?

  4. As a writer, I find Gibran’s “Children” one of the most thought-provoking poems ever written. It is among my favourites too and oft-quoted in my writings. Gibran was brilliant. Genuflect please!
    Another of my favourite poems is “A Poison Tree” by William Blake…it’s simple yet powerful.
    I find Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching by far the best book written on God and philosophy.
    Among fiction, Michael Crichton (Airframe, Jurassic Park, Disclosure) is on the top of my list.
    Wayne W Dyer is my favourite non-fiction writer. I have his whole collection from 1960s. I see my reflection in the progression of his life…he and Linda Goodman (who I think was more a writer and a poet than an astrologer) inspired me to be a writer.
    So much about my wide array of interests 🙂

  5. Hmm I have to disagree, with the pair of you (sorry) purely because when a writer’s intentions are too clear, they become specific only to the writer, whereas if a writer has clear intentions of a notion but writes these notions ambigiously, they will have a wider appeal as the work will be more open to interpretation. On my blog, I have comments on my poems, from readers interpreting ideas which I had no intention of conveying. These comments open my eyes as to what my words can mean…I like that, and I would never reply saying..sorry mate, you just dont get it! Thats deliberate on my part…take what you want, just leave me with my dignity!

  6. Hi Najma,
    I appreciate your feedback.
    What I have written here does not apply to poetry, only to prose (notice that I only mention article/story). Poems, by their very nature, are ambiguous, and therefore always open to interpretation. But when you write prose, you usually do so to communicate a particular thought. Again, what I am trying to say here in this post is that the idea is more important than the writer. If ambiguity is deliberate, so be it – but that too can be done inconspicuously. My point is that narcissism in writing can, and often does, lead the draft astray.

  7. Interesting thoughts here, thoughts that might ‘plague’ me as someone who likes to write, something that faintly resembles prose or poetry.

    I do agree with you though. I used to think that reading and not understanding made me stupid. Nowadays I prefer the “it’s not written well enough” approach.

    The truth most likely lies somewhere in between.

    Nice blog by the way.

    Thanks for dropping by SP, and for your kind words. Your blog is also nice. I found the pictures rather interesting. Incidentally, we are both using the same theme currently. 🙂

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