Don’t bore your readers by accident

Writers spend a lot of time on beginnings. And so they should. If you don’t grab a reader at the start, chances are you’re not going to.

We devote less time to thinking about how we’re going to keep readers reading when we’ve got them.

I’m talking about the fine art of the link.

Because the best links are contextual, it’s a lot easier to talk about what not to do than what to do. And top of my list of things to avoid are mechanicals.

These are the links that people throw in without much thought: also; at the same time; meanwhile; nonetheless. You’ve probably got some favourites of your own.

They don’t add anything. In fact, they might even subtract something. Our reactions to what we read are not all conscious.

That’s always seemed clear to me so I was pleased to get some scientific backing for my instinct from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

Words can have unintended consequences. So you might be saying that something is not boring, but the reader still takes away a negative impression from the fact that you’ve used the word boring.

And those mechanical links often have dull connotations – they don’t give the impression that they’re offering anything new or exciting.

So try to avoid them – and don’t bore your readers by accident.

Get more tips on links from our range of Writing Skills courses.

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