Reader Incomprehension not always the Writer's Fault.

Some readers declare that they cannot follow a story line or can't see what the writer is driving at. True, that might very well be because the writer is being extremely vague, using purple prose, or develops his material in an incoherent fashion. However, we ourselves as readers might be at fault. There are various reasons that have been found to be at the root of the problem. Let me list them.

1. An impoverished vocabulary

If we have a rudimentary or impoverished vocabulary, then we will continually be stumped each time many unfamiliar words come up. This might lead us to think that the writer is using purple prose or trying to be unnecessarily complex in order to impress readers. After all, why would he choose such complicated words when the same thing can be said in a simpler way? Everything but the truth which is that we need to expand our vocabulary. An example is when I read Spanish poetry. I need to have a dictionary at my side. Otherwise I am constantly stumped. The writer’s fault?

2. Faulty Visualization

Another reason why a reader might feel generally confused and partially unable to understand is because of a deficiency in visualization ability. Visualization is the ability to form mental pictures or images based on the descriptions we are reading. Inability to do this can result in our forming blurry or incomplete images or ones that might be completely contrary to what most other persons usually would see when reading the same thing. Such a condition can be caused when we have been fed misinformation about such things leading us to accept them as indisputable truths. In turn this might convince us that the writer either doesn't know his subject or else is being illogical when in reality it is we who are at fault.

3. Inability to properly decipher compound or complex sentences and use of literary devices

The above can happen to us if we constantly choose to read elementary books which rarely rarely employ complex or compound sentences, fragments for dramatic purposes, innuendos, allusions to famous literary works etcetera. If we alway prefer to read literature that rarely communicates ideas via metaphor, simile, personification, verbal and situational irony and which prefers to have the reader infer meaning, then literature that does will confuse us. We will start to ask why the writer being unnecessarily vague? Why is he making himself so hard to understand? What is he trying to prove? Suspicions will be aroused as the our ego attempts to avoid admitting that the reason for the problem lies within ourselves.

In any case, it is a good idea for us not to immediately assume that our inability to understand a writing is the writer's fault.

Here are two articles that go into greater detail: