A finger wagging style of writing non-fiction does not always inspire readers to sit up late into the early hours digesting page after page. Generally people who choose their ‘how to’ or non-fictional work do so for a purpose and you hope that is sufficient to get them to turn the page. The writing and the explanation required must go beyond thorough but often the reader finds it hard work.
My first book Finding Your Voice – Ten Steps to Successful Public Speaking, (published by Lothian in 2005) taught me a great deal about writing non-fiction. Here are my 3 tips to keep the reader engrossed to the end the book.
Prepare an exhaustive overview. Define who, why, what and how key points, arguments, examples, anecdotal material and illustrations. Plan the layout of chapters.
Keep it simple and keep it moving. Be critical – do you really need that 49th version of back story or why it is so? Recognise those tricked up, parlied up paras that fools the ego into believing the message was nailed it with a pretty turn of words and delete. Keep it simple, keep it honest, keep it moving.
If you have publisher listen to your editor if not employ a quality editor. Either a Developmental Editor who will help develop your project even before you start on the writing or a Substantive Editor once you have a full text. Be open to suggestion, often you are too close to it to have vision. Be flexible to changes.