Want to Be a Better Writer?

Bonita Jewel, MFA
7 min readFeb 10

Trust Your Reader

So, you want to be a better writer.

Every writer does, right?

Even bestselling authors can be dissatisfied with their writing skills and want to be better writers.

If we have the right mindset, we’ll constantly work to improve some aspects of our writing craft and grow better at it.

I thought I was a decent writer a decade ago, before I earned degrees in English and Creative Writing.

Before I had edited hundreds of manuscripts.

Before I had written thousands of blog posts.

I might have been a good writer then …

… but there was so much I didn’t know.

There is still so much I don’t know, and it’s healthy to have the perspective where you always want to be a better writer.

You Write Better When You Trust Your Reader

One important aspect of writing better fiction involves trusting your reader more.

In my editing work, and as a beta reader of many novels, I spot this problem a lot.

It’s a common concern of newer authors that their readers might not understand what they are trying to say, so they end up overexplaining rather than trusting the reader.

Growing into a better writer involves trusting your readers in a few specific areas:

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Trust Your Reader to “Get” Your Character

You don’t have to provide extensive backstory for every character.

New writers commit this blunder often, thinking they have to explain every little bit of back story about their character (whether it’s relevant to the story or not).

It’s hard not to do.

Looking back at some stories I began writing in my teens, I can clearly see I made that mistake. I would start a story moving forward, and then break the narrative by offering back story or an explanation of the character’s past.

When there’s a sudden break in the forward movement of a story, if not artfully and…