Writing Tips: The Entertainment Factor
When I work with writers, I address specific aspects of the work that have opportunities to improve, by category (character, premise, dialogue, narrative flow, structure, chapters, etc.) This is all an important part of learning how to write better. I also provide short lessons on "higher level" topics. I thought that upon occasion, it might be helpful to share some of these notes with you, dear blog reader. So this blog post, about what I call "the entertainment factor" is taken from notes I sent to a writer (with any names or identifying factors are removed, of course). I hope you find it helpful!
You'll notice that in your notes, I make a distinction between writing what we feel we want to do for our own reasons (catharsis, being creative, trying something new) and writing that other people will actually want to read. If you can thread that needle and do both - that's a winning combination. It's not enough to know what YOU want to write - that's only half the equation. What do people want to experience when they read? This applies to both fiction writing and narrative nonfiction, incidentally.
Readers want to be entertained. They want to be taken out of their own lives for awhile, into worlds, and places and times that are new to them. They want to experience, vicariously, what it's like to deal with a crisis not of their own making. They want to relate to completion, closure, and resolution. They want life to mean something - and books do all of those things for us. Readers want good people to be rewarded and bad people to be punished. They want, above all to feel something as they read - and not just one thing - but all the things. Dread, joy, hope, craving, anger, satisfaction - the whole rollercoaster ride.
All the writers that I know, experienced, published writers, and even beginners like yourself, also love to read. We are all on the other end of this process - reading what others wrote. So we have to really keep that in mind. Write a story that readers will take pleasure in - as you would yourself.