It’s Friday! Welcome to the GWN blog. Today we have Mary Marvella talking about engaging your reader.
I gave my first ever workshop to a group of writers early in June. I did my first ever PowerPoint presentation. I do not play well with computers or other technical stuff, but I managed to create slides of participants’ beginnings with my comments and suggestions added. Most of the writers made the same mistakes. They summarized. They didn’t draw me in or make me care. When I explained they needed to create scenes so I could experience them with their characters, the writers seemed surprised.
When you have a story to tell you need to decide who is telling the story and how that character feels. Then you must show me how that character feels, hears, smells and tastes.
Billy was always in trouble. Telling.
When Billy wasn’t tying his daddy’s shoes laces together while he slept, he tormented the cats by tying bells around their necks. Showing some.
Billy crept up on his daddy sleeping in his recliner and snoring away. Daddy smells like cigarettes and sweat. As carefully as he could, Billy tied the stained tennis shoe laces, glancing up to make sure no one was watching him. His stomach did a funny dance until he finished. Still silent but laughing inside, he slipped around a corner and waited.
Do you want to know what happened? Not telling.
Even memoirs needed scenes.
Stories and nonfiction books must have take aways to make me want to read. If I can’t relate to the feelings of the characters or the author in some way, I will stop reading. I must feel there is a message for me somewhere in the pages, even with children’s stories, or especially in children’s stories.
As an editor, I need to feel something as I read. Let me into someone’s head or I’ll be bored. Engage me and I’ll read all night!
Check out Mary’s website: www.MaryMarvella.com
Mary blogs here: www.pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.
Cindy here again!
Thanks for being here, Mary! The third example was definitely more engaging.
June 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm
Marvelous Mary, you are terrific! And I bet you are great at those workshops. The computer stuff will work out!
You showed it so well.
June 29, 2013 at 12:35 am
Thank you, Mary R.
June 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm
It’s very important to have a beginning that pulls you in. If that happens, the author has got me as a reader.
June 29, 2013 at 12:38 am
Thanks, Edie! I used the participants’ beginnings and showed why they didn’t draw me in and made suggestions to fix the beginnings. I gained a coaching gig from that workshop!
June 30, 2013 at 8:37 am
Excellent example. Now, you’ve made me think and I have to go back through my WIP and see where I’ve been telling. I’m very guilty of that!
June 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm
Linda, I’m noticing things like that in my own work on drafts 2 and 3!