Six Things Readers Need: Facts

Does this reader have all the facts he needs?I’ve been thinking about the CarFax commercials. A customer enters the used-car lot and begins to look at automobiles. A salesperson approaches and, in the stereotypical, sleazy manner, tries to woo or strong-arm the customer into purchasing a vehicle. The customer pauses; the CarFax fox appears; and the customer leaves because the salesperson refuses to show the customer the facts about the vehicle.

Writers sometimes are those sleazy salespeople. Instead of relying upon facts, they pull at their readers’ emotions. They generalize. They might lie. They craft compositions that are all veneer. Their works don’t and can’t withstand scrutiny.

Other writers hold to some sort of honor code. They don’t give into the temptation to gloss over or hide facts. Why? They believe in integrity. They believe that their readers want and need to know the facts. Such writers believe in the power of specifics. It isn’t enough to write charismatically; they have to be able to back their claims with statistics and credible sources. They believe that the best way they can serve their readers is by telling the truth and by telling it straight or slant when the situation demands it. Their goal is to inspire their readers. They want to create something that causes their readers to think or act differently. They have no interest in swindling their readers nor do they need to do so.

They don’t need to do so because their writing is grounded upon facts. They don’t need to swindle anyone because their aim wasn’t and isn’t to gain a large following. Their main aim is to find the readers who are tired of games and gimmicks, the readers who want the facts.