Treat People How You Want Them to Become

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? When I was self-editing one of my stories recently I came across the four-word sentence. 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 help them achieve their maximum potential and success?

This is the same help we give our readers. They want to live in our new, comfortable, spacious world. Let's help them get there.

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