When a character speaks, regardless of the topic, they’re also revealing things about themselves, their unique perspective on the topic at hand. When a character chooses to speak (or whether they choose to speak) implies what is important to them, just as how they respond demonstrates their mood and general opinion on the topic, and their opinion of those around them.
On the small scale, clarity is the meaning of the words the story uses; understanding the rules of grammar, as well as carefully weighing the merits of poetic language and figures of speech (simile, metaphor, analogy, etc.) It’s ensuring audiences have the necessary information to understand “why”; whether it’s why Harry Potter is famous, why he was kept out of the magical world, or why some characters adore Harry while others despise him. Carefully managing “what audiences learn” and “when they learn” is a critical component of good storytelling. (See 107-02 Background Information)
Bad Habits to Avoid
It’s all about variety. Whether it’s the length of sentences, the complexity of the words used, or the type of writing (description, action, summary, dialogue), don’t stick with one style for too long.
In photography they say the act of looking at one thing is also the act of looking away from something else. The same can be said of description. When writing description, it’s important to consider what’s left unsaid. For example, a character stands in the middle of a street. Audiences will either assume that the street is empty or that the character is ignoring the activity around them, both of which convey meaning.
Prose is general writing, in contrast with dialogue, poetry, and other forms that have more specific rules and meaning. Prose includes description/exposition, summarization, and statements/actions. What follows is a series of techniques and ideas to help revise and strengthen an existing rough draft, not techniques for writing a rough draft. Keep in mind that writing is all about creating contrast, and sometimes it may make sense to deviate from these guidelines.