I was at my beautician friend’s house getting a haircut when her husband, Randy, came home. He’s not a writer or interested in becoming one. But, whenever Randy is around, I know he’ll ask about my work. We’ve gotten past, “What do you write?” He understands that I write books. He’s asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”and I’ve told him I pray before I write and ask for God’s guidance. Somehow the ideas just come. But on this particular haircut day Randy wanted to know,
“Who do you write for?”
(I wanted to correct his grammar, but I didn’t.) I rambled on about editors, writing assignments and deadlines. I talked about publishers and digressed into explaining what it means to freelance. —
“I meant WHO do you write for?” he interrupted me. “Kids? Adults?”
“Both,” I said. Then I added,
“I write for every person reading my book. I want my words to make each reader feel like I’ve written the book just for him or her.”
I could have gone on and made the poor guy sit through a lesson on informal writing and conversational tone, but I didn’t. I’m sure he was grateful.
When I write here on the blog and also when I write devotionals I prefer a conversational voice. Yes, it breaks the rules of formal writing, but there are benefits.
- A conversational tone connects the reader with the writer.
- It allows the writer to get ideas across using fewer words.
- It holds readers’ interest longer and makes them want to read more.
- A conversational tone is more inviting and entertaining.
- It increases readership.
- A conversational tone flows easily and naturally, like a friendly conversation with Randy!
Kurt Vonnegut said, “The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child . . . I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am.”
Think about your writing style. Is it formal or informal?
What about your style makes your readers want to come back for more?
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