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Treat People How You Want Them to Become

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

You may have heard that you should treat people how you want them to become instead of how they deserve to be treated now. Such wise counsel should bear abundant fruit in your life. If it doesn’t, you might consider getting some new friends.

What does this have to do with writing fiction?

When your readers come across the first keystroke of your story, they are infants presented to a new world:

  • They know nothing but want everything.

  • They don't know what to become or how to feel.

  • They want your trust.

  • They want you to lead them.

This is why they've come to you. You demonstrate your faith in them by treating them as intelligent but inexperienced beings. Don’t italicize or capitalize words because your readers aren’t smart enough to discern which words are important. Avoid adverbs and don’t employ repetition because doing so makes your readers feel stupid. That is the opposite of what your readers want from you. They crave healthy, living sentences filled with color and description. The images they conjure from reading your words fill the voids in their empty but bright minds.

Instead of writing,

"Gary paid the waiter."


"The waiter was a bent-over bearded man fitted with a white apron tarnished on each side with some sort of red sauce. But a smiling man he was, shifting his weight back and forth between his feet."

Where did I find this example? I came across the four-word sentence when I was self-editing one of my stories. My first thought was the computer had typed it out on its own. I cursed myself for being a terrible writer and replaced the sentence with the passage shown above. Someday I’ll write real sentences.​

As parents, don't we want to inspire our children, showing them all possibilities according to their talents and ambitions, and helping them achieve their maximum potential and success?

Great literature

Over the years I have I've come across the following two tidbits. These thoughts say all I've been trying to say and more. Unfortunately, I didn't record their sources so I don't know who to credit. If you happen to know, could you let me know?

Great Literature,

  • Demands an emotional response.

  • Gives order to human experience.

  • Teaches lessons that will stay with the reader forever.

  • Is not chosen by a literary guild, but instead by the entire world.

And finally,

Every person yearns for guidance, a basic human instinct.

They want to be instilled with morals and values,

they want to have a backbone for living divinely,

and they don't want to feel alone.

This is what great literature provides. This is what we can give our readers. They want to live in a new, comfortable, secure, understandable, and spacious world. Let's help them get there.

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