Humans are fascinated by complexity. Complexity creates richness.
It’s a fine balance — too simple and we get bored, too complex and we become confused. But as a general rule of thumb, the more complex something is, the more interesting it is to us, and the longer it can hold our attention.
Adding layers of complexity to your writing (both fiction and nonfiction) keeps your reader engaged in a way a simple story can’t.
You want to start with something simple, and then build. The word “layer” is key — layers of complexity is what will breathe richness into your writing.
Simplicity makes it easy to slip in; complexity keeps us captivated. The best writing has both.
The core plot/thesis of your piece is the framework upon which everything else will be built. You want this framework to be simple enough to follow easily — too complex, and there won’t be room for anything else.
But on top of (and underneath) the main plot and thesis, add layers of complexity. Subplots, additional stories, new threads. Weave them like a tapestry. The more complex, the more interesting your piece will be.