Don’t forget the audience

Trupe, A. L. (2005) Organizing Ideas. In B. Rafoth (Ed.), A tutor’s guide: Helping writers one to one (2nd ed.). (pp. 98-106). Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publihsers, Inc.

This book has a fantastic chapter on structuring  your writing (Chapter 11: Organizing Ideas). The most useful advice the chapter offers is to be aware of the perspective you take when organizing your writing. The author suggests that there are two primary viewpoints one can take in order to do this: the viewpoint of the writer and the viewpoint of the reader.

Taking the writer’s perspective will generate a question like ‘What do I want to say?’, and writers will often organize their writing based on the answer to that question. However, the chapter suggests moving towards an organization that is based, instead, on the reader. One such guiding question is, ‘What does the reader need to know?’ This will move the writer to take on the reader’s perspective, giving insight into any existing gaps that need to be filled.

We, as writers, can easily cloud our judgment about the coherence of our work simply due to the fact that we (usually) already know what we want to say. We already know that it makes sense. Of course, this coherence doesn’t always translate to the reader. After-all, the reader doesn’t necessarily have the same presuppositions as the writer. As such, this distinction can be helpful to ensure that no leaps in logic are made in the writing (as well as many other errors).

Hope you find this helpful.

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