Thursday, September 2, 2021

Do We Kill The Reader?

Susan Reichert

Have you had the opportunity to be in a group, and one person starts talking and talking and talking, and you just keep saying to yourself, “Lady, are you ever going to get to the point?” Through the years I have been in groups at experienced this. I confess my mind shuts her off and wanders.

Believe it or not, there are writers who write just like this. They just go on and on and on meandering all over the place until finally readers either close the book or start skipping ahead, page after page, trying to find where they can start reading again.

Ask that author what tight writing is, and they probably will tell you what they believe the definition is and also state that they write tight. The thing is, they don’t.

To me, tight writing is getting your reader immersed in the story, moving them along, turning the pages, become part of the story, seeing it unfold on the screen of their minds.

I like what Elmore Leonard, author of Get Shorty said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip."

Reading a lot of books, I confess there are pages I skip over in books where the authors do not write tight. I am sure you’ve read books by an author or two who did not write tight.

The best advice I’ve heard on writing tight was from Dr. Seuss, “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

I believe that says it all!

Susan Reichert, author of Listen Close, Between Me and You, God's Prayer Power and Storms in Life; numberous magazine articles and nine anthologies. articles, and in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars,  and libraries.

She lives in Tennessee with her husband and grown children with families of their own.


  1. Susan, I have crit partners who tell me if I do that. “I’m starting to skim.” “I suggest you cut a lot of this out.” Over the 15+ years we’ve been crit partners, I’ve learned to listen snd cut. Good advice, my friend!

    1. Thanks Ane. Our crit partners help make us better writers. Truthfully I can tell you I never skip in your books! I am hooked from the first page all the way through.

  2. Tight writing is a job and a gift once learned. I'm guilty of being too wordy at times so I'm thankful for my ProWritingAid software. It helps keep me straight. Super article, Susan. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Loretta. You are so right. Tight writing, once learned is a great. I use the ProWritingAid software and have found it to be helpful too. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  3. I cut my writing teeth writing short-shorts for Woman's World--first 2,000 word mysteries, then 1500, then 1000, so I learned early to write lean. :-)

    1. What a great way to learn to write tight. No wonder I love reading your books!