Love stories offer most powerful tool for creating character arc and taking reader on journey
What a thrill to attend Michael Hauge’s story writing workshop at the recent RWA conference. Apparently, we were the biggest audience he’s ever had for a presentation on writing – and we loved it!
For those of you who don’t know much about Michael – he’s a screen-writer and writing/screen coach who works in Hollywood and has consulted on many of the major HW films in the past decades.
Michael covered a lot in our all-day session. Starting with some clips from some movies he used to illustrate his messages. So what were some of his messages?
Some of those that resonated with me were:
You need to create an emotional experience for your reader or watcher
You need to transport the reader/watcher into the world you’ve created
Your goal as a writer is to elicit emotion in the reader
So how do we do that?
Michael went into a lot of detail about main characters, their outer motivations and their inner journey. I will cover more about that in my next few blog posts as there’s a lot to take in. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with another of my favourite quotes from the workshop
Stories are a participatory experience. People read novels not because it is interesting to see what happens, but as an emotional journey to experience for themselves.
Some days, I wonder why I spend so much time writing. How can I justify spending so much time on it? Time away from all the other important things in my life…
It’s true that I LOVE writing, that I feel I simply HAVE to write. But are there readers out there who will enjoy my work?
It’s hard when you’re starting out and haven’t connected with many readers yet. It can be hard to keep the faith and keep writing. To keep believing in yourself and that people will want to read your words.
This morning I was reminded why I do this. Someone had left two comments on my Goodreads feed in response to a quote from my book ‘Lie to me’. They said:
Emily. I’m from Brasil. Never read any of your books. I almost didn’t know you. But a couple months ago, I was on Facebook and there was a quote that change my future days. “Just at that moment she glanced towards him and saw him smiling at her, his eyes lingering on her with warmth and an indefinable something else. Her heart caught in her chest” It changed me. And I’m here to say Thank YOU. My heart was caught? Yes
Just trying to express my feeling for your quote. But I can’t, it’s not just that, I fele like I spent all my life to feel it. The same thing you wrote. And I searched for it. And somehow I found it. I just don’t now what to do next. Sorry for all of this. And again. Thank you, for making me wait to see something more than special.
How wonderful to create something that has moved someone so much. I am humbled.
A good reminder that we should present ourselves across different media as a consistent, reliable product if we want to build customer confidence and trust.
I just read an excellent article on one of a writers most important resources – beta readers.
They are a wonderful asset and should be appreciated for all they do. Check out this informative link:
I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to making the most out of twitter – how about you? If like me you are keen to get better at the world of tweets and #, then check out this article
My favourite tip – engage with your followers and readers. Actually start a conversation. (Something for me to do more of)
Those of us starting out are always looking for ways to spread the words about our books. And what better way than word of mouth and recommendations from satisfied readers. There are some great practical tips on finding those elusive reviewers in this article from bookbub:
Probably one of the hardest things of all is the first time you share your toiled-over manuscript with beta-readers. Will they like it? Won’t they? Will their feedback make you wither inside and wonder whether months of your life have just been wasted? Will they find the story as engrossing as you have? – Find the characters engaging?, etc. etc.
It is hard to take that step but certainly rewarding. If you seek a range of opinions from the perspective of readers (preferably people who enjoy the genre) then you will learn so much more about your work. And once you have processed their advice, then your book will surely benefit. The trick is knowing what to run with and what to leave out. Your book cannot be everything to everyone, and in the end only you can make a final call on what will work. But pay attention to a variety of perspectives, because no one person (ie. you) will have all the answers.
6 Tips for Using Beta Readers.
This article reminded me that I should work harder to give my beta-readers good information about some of the things I want to check about the book. Do the characters make sense, or are they confusing? Is there the right amount of back-story, are motivations clear? Who do they sympathize with? What seems real, and what seems odd? There are so many questions the writer can ask. The important thing is to decide what you would like to know before you hand over that book. And make sure you seek a range of perspectives.
I truly value feedback from my beta-readers – I know it has helped to make my books better. There are some things I can’t change – like the fact that I do not have much humour in my writing. I’m afraid if people prefer funny books, then they should try other authors. Because humour is not my forte, and forced humour is just painful. I know my strengths, so I will try to play to them. I love story-telling – taking people with me on an emotional journey. So things like adding more dialog for certain scenes, clarifying events in others. That is easy. So thanks you to those who have read and provided feedback on my first four books. It helped me to gain confidence and certainly improved each of the stories in different ways. And as for my new series of historical romances, the journey for them is just beginning.
If anyone is interested in historical romance (sexy) and would like to join my small band of valued beta-readers, I would be happy to hear from you. Free copies provided! Thanks
My current series The French Connection follows the lives of a French Comte and his associates as they escape the French Revolution. “Isabel’s Choice is nearly ready for publication, and ‘Temptation’ will shortly be returned by the editor.