“THINK READER” -Writing for Others

Think reader flat

This book was one year in the making. It distills my knowledge of what writing for others means. And the grant applicant definitely writes for others – the grantors, the people who have the power to shape or reshape the applicant’s future – YOUR future.

You can get it now at leanpub.com (pdf version), or on Apple books (if you have a Mac – that version has interactive exercises), and mid June 2019 on Amazon (for Kindle or in book form).

While writing this book, I made four fundamental discoveries.

  1. It is so easy for a writer to forget about how little the reader really knows. The knowledge gap between them is often found in “cause-to-result” statements like between “because, since, as,…” and  “therefore, hence, as a result”.  Things are just so evident to us that we sometimes wrongly believe they are also evident to others. (Chapter on Reader Expectations).
  2. Grammar is not neutral in the way a writer influences the reader. Of course, we know that parts of speech do. Adjectives and adverbs paint efficiently in bright vivid colors. But surely, clauses and subclauses, the structural elements in sentences, play no other role than carrying their word cargo, right? Wrong! Grammar, used appropriately is a powerful persuader.(Chapter on Persuading using grammar)
  3. A scientist, particularly one expected to evaluate other’s ideas, cannot be bullied with enthusiasm and promises of slam dunks. How then is one to convey simply, honestly, and respectfully one’s ideas to such strict and demanding assessors of an idea’s worth and an investigator’s caliber? Hedge words are the most powerful weapon in a writer’s arsenal (Chapter 6 on reader expectations).
  4. The brain uses neurotransmitters to control memory and attention. Indeed, some of these neurotransmitters are common to memory and attention, which act as twin cousins in both synergistic and antagonistic ways. Controlling attention is also controlling how much the reader remembers. Alas, driven by the aim of trying to impress and get attention by volume more than by quality, a writer often overwhelms both attention and memory, and an overwhelmed reader is an underwhelmed evaluator. (Chapter 1, 3 and 4 on the physiology of memory and attention and the techniques to sustain these core reader resources).

I hope you will also benefit from my research in writing, and funding.

Author: jllebrun

General Partner at Scientific Reach - training scientists in the science of clear writing and presenting - grants/papers/posters.

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