WRITING TIPS AND TRICKS
Old proven writing tips and tricks that have been used for centuries, unfortunately, some of them no longer apply in the digital age. Readers now have a 140 character attention span and as a writer, you have to be aware of new writing techniques to psychologically keep your readers engaged with your blog.
If you are new to creative writing, you may not understand how crucial it is to load “Tension” into your plot outline. Most books or articles have “Tension Deficit Disorder” this is when the reader is losing interest with your article and can skip a page or two and still the plot or message that you are trying to convey has not moved forward. This is very bad for you.
For new writers, there are three types of writing styles and you will fall into a category by recognising these characteristics in yourself.
- THE PLANNER – Is methodical and first will set out their broad plot or outline. Secondly, they will plan a detailed outline scene by scene to grow their story and the character development. Thirdly they will construct line by line.
- THE PANCER – Is an intuitive writer and may, or may not set out a plot or outline. They will literally write out their story by the seat of their pants. However, there are times when inspiration runs dry and plotting may become necessary until intuition kicks back in.
- THE TWEENY – Is somewhere between a planner and a pancer.
OUTLINING YOUR ARTICLE
The lack of tension even in the plotting stages is a problem when the plot is slow, there will not enough happening to grow each character and to move the story forward. If a page can be skipped by the reader and they can still follow the plot, then you may need to consider removing those pages. Each page must add value to the message or story you are telling.
Without tension, the script is not a page-turner. Tension must make the reader feel sad, uncertainty, uneasy, worried, excited, frightened, aroused or questioning. If you can get readers to question you, you will then get more social comments on your website.
Tension in writing has a powerful physiological effect on the reader. If you have sufficient tension in your story and you make it personal, the reader will not be able to stop reading. This little trick will have triggered an addictive hormonal response in the reader.
Have you ever read a book until 3 am in the morning simply because you could not put it down? Not many books create this condition but the ones that do are usually best-sellers. So, let me explain what is happening to the reader’s body when you have added sufficient tension to your writing.
READING AND HOW IT RELATES TO AROUSAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL CHANGES TO THE READER
1. The human brain looks at how much sensation is generated by a particular activity across the whole body and ranks how seriously to rate these sensations, this includes the primitive or lizard part of the brain which is stimulated by survival, reproduction and fear. If both the primitive and more modern part of the brain are stimulated then bingo! Bango! A cascade of hormones are released. Every person has an optimal level of arousal and we like to keep it there, which makes the hormone dopamine particularly addictive.
When a reader is aroused in relation to reading, the brain releases dopamine as a predictor of the intensity of this pleasurable activity. This increases your focus and endurance which keeps you reading when you should be asleep.
When the reading activity has sufficient tension the dopamine continues to be drip fed into the body systems. If the reading activity exceeds expectations then a dopamine surge makes putting down the book impossible.
Interestingly, if you are interrupted from your reading pleasure, you will be compelled to undertake the reading activity again as soon as possible. This dopamine prediction process is sometimes called “Emotional Memory” which is why it is so difficult to end relationships that are sexually rewarding.
2. We have what is called mirror neurons in the brain. When it comes to chemical response, the brain does not always distinguish between actual experience and shared ones. An example of this why we can get as excited by watching sport as playing it, or empathise when someone cries with grief and loss, or be stimulated by pornography, or have a physical and emotional response to a great book.
Mirror neurons will give you that warm rush if you read a romance or a cold wash of dread if you are reading a horror. The lizard (primitive) part of the brain causes this kind of reaction, and that is why we add tension in our writing.
If a reader has a physical response, this means you have succeeded in your quest to influence the reader and that is essential if you want to sell a LOT OF COPIES.
Think about the first great book you ever read. I bet it pops instantly to mind. Why because it ticked all the boxes for you chemically, emotionally and physically. That book moved at the right pace, was filled with tension, expanded your imagination and left you panting for more of the same.
3. Write your books like candy, have people wanting to read your book against their better judgment because your writing is so gripping. I know when I read the first book in a series and I loved it, then no matter how broke I am I must have the rest of the series. (My poor credit card suffers)
Levels of serotonin are produced which are chemicals related to obsession and compulsion. Serotonin feels as good as dopamine. This leads to impulsive book purchases in a desire for further reading gratification. Human beings have chemical reactions that are intrinsic responses to tension. You need to remember that and write accordingly.
Remember every page must add value to character development and the storyline. If you have content that does not accomplish this, ditch them. We now live in a world of 140 characters. Everyone online has very short attention spans. You need to move quickly, let go of some dated writing techniques which will no longer work for new generations. This includes keeping your paragraphs shorter. Keep more white space on the page, because this makes it easier to keep reading.
Long paragraphs are more difficult to read. Remember, keep your prose fresh, keep it fast and add lots of tension.
I hope this was useful to you and if you have any questions please feel free to comments below. I would love to hear from you.