the rule of So what?

Good writing in every genre answers the question SO WHAT? Good writing has a purpose, a point, a reason it was written.

The good writer looks for and finds the meanings, the significances, the implications in the subject he or she has chosen.

Sometimes the SO WHAT? is subtle and implicit. Sometimes it's explicitly stated. But always a good reader finds something to think about because a good writer found something to think about.

Robert Frost wrote, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." If you don't find the deep meanings in your life or your characters' lives, your readers won't find meanings in their own.

A good writer often discovers the SO WHAT? through the thinking of the writing process. But even with hard thinking, some topics may not have a SO WHAT? These pieces can be abandoned or put on hold.


2002 by Nancie Atwell from Lessons That Change Writers (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann)


the rule of So what?      lesson 9