Communication In Writing… Do You Know What I am Saying?
March 24, 2011
I can tell you that I like ice cream. That my favorite is chocolate, and I like whipping cream with a cherry on top. You understand what I am saying correct? This is a simple sort of communication.
You know what I am saying, ( you understand me) and chances are, you will communicate in the same way.
Often, this does not happen with writing, I write the words, and you read the words, and in theory, you will follow what I have said. The problem is that sometimes, okay, a lot of the time, I will write something that means something totally different than what I had intended to communicate.
I would say that some of the best fiction writers do this well. It keeps people reading, and then keeps them talking. Then there are the writers who have a meaning but they put in in a way that can confuse their readers.
Try this: I like ice cream, but while my preference is chocolate, but if my mom is around my preference is always strawberry, because she has said that she is allergic to chocolate ice creme since she was three years old, and her older brother put corn inside her chocolate ice cream. OS today I am having strawberry ice cream, even though I like chocolate ice cream.
Beyond the fact I’ve added an number of things to this, it is a huge communication leap. Some might think about my mother, some my willingness to “bend.” Another reader might take it at face value and others focus on the back story.
The point is that I might not have meant anything to it, just adding details. I didn’t (or might not have) known how many ways I can communicate in that short paragraph. In my mind the mark of a good writer is knowing what they wanted to communicate, but also allows the reader to “think for themselves.
So the last two example will be after that paragraph:
1) I love the ice cream, and I have to say that strawberry is pretty good. My mom likes it as well, and we’ll have a nice chat about our ice cream. It is good ice cream, and I still like chocolate.
2) I’ll sit and listen to her moan about my choice of ice cream, she will complain about the fact that I don’t care about her views, or her feelings. I’d rather enjoy my own kind of ice cream as opposed to hers.
I would suggest that example two brings out what I want to bring out, but example one does not. The key is I knew which one I focusing on and communicating that view to my reader.
It is like communicating in general, so this means one will have to think about what people need, and what you communicate to them.