education / writers tips

Writer’s Tip #27: People Read to Learn

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip:People like insider information

Lots of people want to learn from what they read. That doesn’t mean you present a textbook-style, footnoted narrative on a topic. It means you share fascinating bits of knowledge wrapped in the accouterments of fiction writing–characters, plot, setting. Tell us about the Thames as part of a London scene. Share background on Sherlock Holmes in dialogue, as your character tries to solve a crime. Salt your story with amazing facts that will stay with your reader even better than the outcome of the plot. Did you read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code? The reason for its popularity is the insider knowledge he included. The plot was good, but not unusual. The knowledge is what set the book apart.

You may not have an art history sort of novel, but throw in fascinating facts now and then. It’ll grab your reader and they’ll keep turning the pages, hoping for more.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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7 thoughts on “Writer’s Tip #27: People Read to Learn

  1. A great piece of advice, thank you. I definitely like the extra bit of interesting and fascinating information about the characters or setting or scenes. These are second servings of the desert and thus more memorable and enjoyable that will stick in the mind for a long time. Only thing I would suggest [learnt through bitter personal experience] that the extra information is contextual and part of the plot and given bit by bit, drip fed, rather than long-winded journalistic prose that will surely bore the reader. Arun


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