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Writing to Communicate

Who is speaking in each of these examples? Can you tell the age of the speaker or the situation?

1. “Do you really think you are going to play at Joey’s house before you clean your room?”

2. “Please pull up to the far window. Thank you for your business.”

3. “I did really well today and my teacher read it in front of the class!”

4. “That little snake thought she could get away with her lies. Well, I showed her.”

5. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to! Please believe me, please, I won’t do it again!”

As you read the examples, I’m sure you put in your own emphasis and maybe even heard the voice of someone you know. Disapproval, boredom, happiness, hatred, and fear come through clearly just by using words. Writing is one way of communicating your ideas and emotions to other people. Like other methods of communication, the skill of writing needs to be encouraged, practiced, and developed.

Babies make noise from the moment they are born. Their crying and babbling gradually becomes meaningful, until ‘baba’ means ‘bottle’ and ‘wuh wuh’ means ‘woof woof.’ None of you remember, but I’m sure your mothers do, when something you uttered got a positive response. Was it your mother’s smile the first time you said ‘mamamama?’ That’s communication. Her smile encouraged you, and you repeated it. You practiced speaking, and your oral skills developed.

Television, though, is not communication. Actors and newscasters say their piece and it magically travels through space to your home. They don’t get the gratification of seeing how much you enjoyed the show. They never know if you missed their best lines because you were getting a snack, using the bathroom, or snoozing on the couch. Somewhere network executives make a guess about what you like to watch. Nobody communicates.

With some people, communication doesn’t happen when they write, either. That is a sad situation I’d like to help do something about. First, when you write, make sure you have something to say. Don’t ramble on and on to fill the page, or write real small to disguise the fact your sentences are repeating. That’s mumbling. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who speaks very low? No one wants to talk to a mumbler, so don’t mumble when you write. Next, try to present your words as clearly as you can. Spelling and grammar mistakes, run-on sentences, fragments, and extra adjectives all conspire to disrupt communication. Finally, organize your writing so that the reader can easily understand your main points or plot. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It is, with practice!

On my Kindle:  The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson

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