Monday, April 11, 2016

Powerful Fiction Hacks

post by Michelle Griep
I spent the weekend attending a fantastic writing workshop put on by the effervescent Jeff Gerke. Writing Powerful Fiction was an awesome seminar and a great way to grow in the craft. Here are a few takeaway gems that you can use . . .

There are 3 aspects of brain science that can be helpful for engaging a reader into your story.

1. Catching the reader's attention.

The brain is constantly scanning for two things: danger and surprise. If the brain doesn't detect either, then whammo. The book gets put down, likely never to be picked up again. But if you incorporate danger or surprise -- or especially both -- right from the get go in your story, then you'll hook the reader immediately.

2. Connecting the reader to the protagonist.

Once you've got the reader hooked, you need to reel them in. You do that by giving your character something the reader can connect with, something that makes them think "Dude! This character is just like me!" You need to show how the character is likable and also like the reader.

3. Presenting a story of struggle or challenge.

Life is hard. It should be for your hero as well. You've got to give him a challenge that is just about impossible, against odds that are crazy-go-nuts, with a villain who's blocking his success at every turn.

There was a lot more technical information to back up these brainy things with official words like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and what have you. The bottom line, though, is that these 3 tips showed a change in a reader's brain, proving they were engaged in the story. I'd say that's good enough proof to give these 3 tips a whirl, eh?

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