“I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not ‘audience.’ Not ‘readership.’ Just the reader.”
This quote by Jeffrey Eugenides, which he tells his students in his creative writing classes begs the question of how smart exactly is the average reader. I would like think the average reader is smarter than most, even me. I mean I’m average in so many ways, and not ashamed by it. I’m an Asian un-gifted in the math and sciences. This is why I’m not a doctor or dentist or anything related to medicine. If I was, guess what? I’d probably be somewhere walking down the halls of some hospital or clinic, maybe wishing I was doing something else. There were no brainy individuals in my bloodline, and accepted this a long time ago.
This doesn’t mean my biological parents didn’t give me anything. They gave me other things besides a brain that belongs in Mensa or near Mensa. You might say I’m viewing myself as stupid, but that’s not the case. I’m seeing myself as realistic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted realistic goals and centralized viewpoints with many different topics. Basically, I’ve become less focused on how others view me and more on what I can do improve myself within my own life. I’ve become less competitive with others including myself. Unless you’re writing in the academic world or for a specific age group (preteen or teens), I think a happy medium should be adopted when you write the average novel.
I’ve purposely left out things in past stories or scripts to not hit the reader over the head with the obvious. This led to my roommate, often my guinea pig, to say what are you trying to say or do in this paragraph or description. I learned when you border on being cryptic, misunderstanding can occur and does as the pages increase. Therefore, I have added necessary information to the reader so there is no guessing for the reader in my current rewrite. I suspect I’ll learn even more as I rewrite more, and hoping my next rewrite doesn’t take as long. Writing should feel as natural as can be, but still keeping objectivity as much as possible. I suspect most of us are smarter than we let on in some cases, while in others we play stupid silly. This is all I have to say about this for now.