Natalie says it better than I can:
What does [not trusting your reader] mean? It boils down to not trusting that your audience will "get" what you're trying to give them. This leads to over explaining and repetition, which is annoying to a smart reader (and guess what, I hear most readers are smart people).Backstory, Flashbacks, and Extraneous Scenes
Look at all of these closely. I recently did a post on my writing blog about how your reader might not care about most of this stuff. How do you present it? Is it ripping your reader out of the real story? You may care deeply about all of that information, but how much does your reader really need to know?
Scott wrote an excellent post on backstory here.
Most of the time, scaffolding is unnecessary. If your reader screams "I know!", you don't have to put a dialogue tag after it that says she screamed loudly.
He was just plain downright annoyed. He stomped his foot and clenched his fists.
When he looked deeply into her eyes, he whispered softly and lowered his voice.
The cool breeze flowed into the small room and rustled the lacy curtains until the stagnant air felt refreshed.
These are obvious examples, but I see this all the time. Adverbs. Extra adjectives, etc. Wordiness!
You. Don't. Need. To. Repeat. Things. Except for this phrase: You don't need to repeat things! This is my biggest problem. I like to pound things into my reader's head. Symbolism. Metaphors. Obvious things. A good example is from Natalie's post:
"That's not a good idea," he said. He seemed sure we shouldn't go in the cave.
Yes, and then I would probably repeat again in a later paragraph that he seemed sure we shouldn't go in the cave. The dialogue said it all. Just leave it at that.
Oh, Hate Them!
If one of your characters is a downright mean, ugly person. Let them be. Don't make excuses for them. Don't try and make them likable because you've read somewhere that all characters need to be likable.
In my first novel, one of my main POV characters is a terrible person. The other main POV character hates her. So why would I try and make her likable from the get go? I have no idea. But I did. And the character rings false.
These are a few things that hinder trust, which can lead to you looking like a poor storyteller, a weak writer, and someone who doesn't trust their own work and abilities. Trust me (haha), I'm barely learning all of this. I know I have a long way to go in strengthening my writing. I think a follow-up post is in order for things that help the reader trust. Scott? Davin? Any volunteers for a guest post?
Question For The Day: How important do you feel it is that your reader trusts you? Do you have any other examples of how a writer can hinder trust?
~MDA (aka Glam)