Bad fiction usually boils down to this: the writer isn’t giving the reader the information they need to conjure a scene.
But very often it’s because the author has lost sight of what is and isn’t written on the page. The writer knows what’s happening, and they fail to see they’re leaving their readers in the dark. They leave out crucial details and context, particularly around what’s motivating a character and what’s at stake in what they’re trying to do.
One of the most underrated skills good writers possess is the ability to put themselves in a reader’s shoes and understand how they might interpret a scene. Being a strong writer isn’t just about having enough empathy that you can conjure believable characters, it’s also about having the empathy to imagine how a reader will interpret what you actually write down.
Here are some tips on how to avoid this pratfall and see your work fresh.