Can You Hear Me? Writing to Your Reader

As I’m working to bring another nonfiction book together, I’m working with a topic that is not in my comfort zone.  I know more than most of my readers but not as much as I want them to know when all is said and done. This means that I’ve been having to learn the topic before I can teach the topic.

The tricky bit?  Finding sources that aren’t trying to impress me with the acadababble – that’s Edward’s household for academic babbling. So much of what I can find is either so simplistic that it isn’t giving me the details that I need or it is written by an expert who is flaunting their expertise.

I read it.  I reread it.  And I still don’t have a clue.

The problem is that this is within my darling husband’s area of expertise.  Why is this a problem?  During his average work day, he discusses this topic but with other professionals. He’s not used to discussing it with the clueless.

The other day, I asked him to explain something to me.

“Mwa Mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa.”  (For those who can’t tell, that’s the sound made by adults in the Peanuts specials.)

“Okay, the problem is that I didn’t get any of that.”

The better your understanding of a topic, the harder it is to explain to a newbie.  So not only do I need to find sources I can understand, I need to find a way to make the topic understandable to your average 7th grader.  Not that 7th graders are clueless but I do have a wee tiny bit more experience than they do.  Finding examples and ways of explaining it that they can understand is a challenge.

Then I have to run the whole thing past my husband. If it makes sense to him and my reader, then all is well.