(Or are they? — A joke.)
Sometimes I skip entire paragraphs while reading because the author is explaining something to me I learned in elementary. But I’m a writer, too; therefore, a bit guilty of this myself. We all are in someway or another.
“He used his toothbrush to brush his teeth, then brushed his hair with a…brush.” Well no crap.
We need to learn to trust our readers. Trust that they aren’t stupid and (hopefully) have common sense. When writing it’s easy to over explain, and not just simple things like what a toothbrush does, but ideas are expanded on that really don’t need to be.
We’re wasting space…or are we doing it for the word count? (There would be a winking emoji here if I thought emojis in blog posts were cool.)
I do it accidentally. I’m not intentionally spending a paragraph on something that’s explainable with one word…I just sort of forget that I’m not writing some other world novel where it would need to be explained.
‘I trust my readers!’ you say. Then you write “The Statue of Liberty, which is in New York…” If we trusted our readers we would trust that they had a brain. (We don’t need to explain to them all the different cliques in high school -ahem- YA novels.)
Or maybe as a writer, sometimes it’s hard to trust the reader will get it. That’s not being mean or condescending. It’s more of a worry for the writer. We want everything perfect and we want people to understand what we’re writing (even when we’re simply implying–we don’t want it to go over everyone’s head.)
It does us more harm than good and gets people ah skimmin’. I think it’s best if we as writers remember that we’re readers, too. So when we look at our work we’ve got to make sure we’re not over explaining everything for the sake of clarity. Because we as readers skim that.