Your non-fiction articles and essays must be riveting; chock full of information and details (well-supported, of course)—and compelling enough to keep your reader from yawning and heading for the fridge.
Personality - Your writing also has to have personality and pzazz… and it has to be authentically YOU. Even articles that require objectivity without a trace of opinion or personal commentary must deliver your style. The more you write, the more you will be recognized for your voice or special signature.
Structure & Organization - Good writing has to tease or tantalize at the beginning, and it has to keep building. At the end, the reader will be fully satisfied, yet hungry for more (maybe not now but in a few hours after this “full-course writing meal” has been digested). What is the pulse? Where is the heart of this story? What is the word, phrase or piece of information that almost “writes” the rest of the story?
Authenticity - Your writing also has to be authentic. This means that you are not posturing or trying to develop the material in order to please a writing teacher or follow the rules in the writing manual of the day. Nor are you using your writing skills as a way of telling people how much you know or how brilliant you are.
Scheherazade may have been fair to look upon and sexy in bed, but so are hundreds—thousands—of other women. Anyone can learn the tricks of the trade if they want to… right?!
A hungry reader desperate for a genuine experience will not be easily “tricked.” Also, anyone who is looking for the real thing will be greatly disappointed to discover a manikin instead of flesh and bone. Plastic surgery and a fake smile don’t go very far. Scheherazade was a brilliant young woman who knew how to weave her stories with human insight, compassion and love… love for humanity and for herself.
Without conceit yet fully self-assured that she had the ability to please the king with her stories, Scheherazade took the ultimate risk and was ready to pay the consequences if necessary.
Focus - You know what you want to say and how you want to say it. This requires a quiet state of relaxed, controlled concentration. You are fully present during the entire delivery process. When you meet someone and shake their hand or look into their eyes, you can sense if they are sincere.
Likewise, your readers will know from the first lines of your story or article if you are sincerely dedicated to doing your very best to deliver new information and/or give them a unique and unforgettable reading experience.
Value - The story of Scheherazade delivers another key point: your writing has to have value. If you have ever read The Thousand and One Nights, you know each of these stories has human interest or delivers a kernel of wisdom. They are portraits of Scheherazade’s inner soul, and it is this beauty, transmitted to the king at the soul level, that caused him to fall passionately in love with her.
Sustainability – Your readers are your most important commodity, your “King Shahryar”—although without the agenda to murder you if you don’t deliver a page-turner! You want to nurture these Royal Readers and cultivate a relationship with them so they’ll keep coming back for more.
New Poem - From The Abominable Snowman, by Carol Adler
Nevermore will the Minister of Protocol wax and truss
mortal sins and stuff their innards with dollar store wings
serve sawdust currency to an Abominable Paperweight,
sign gold-backed certificates for pre-medicated dementia
ordered to lift off from Trivia Incorporated, wide-eyed and waiting
for the next injection. Checker Players to the left, Stamp Collectors
to the moratorium. This 3-D hallucination will no longer replicate;
beware of a bad hair day and if you’re auditioning for Superman,
your only hope is desperation. Brace yourself. The reality booth
is locked and the last plane to the North Pole has already taken off.
Copyright, by Carol Adler, 2015 - All Worldwide Rights Reserved