Tuesday, January 7, 2020

TipfulTuesday: The Hidden Promise In Our Stories

I confess. I am one of "those" shoppers who walk through a bookstore, glancing at covers and titles, seeking one to pick up and peruse.

The huge Barnes and Nobel in my mall put up a new display for "new releases". I glanced through the forty books beautifully shelved. Sadly only one cover caught my attention. I walked on to the next display.

My point today will not be that a great cover sells. Although it sure helps.

My point also is not the title, back cover, and/or the first page enhances sales...although they seem to.

The key to a fabulous book is this: If a reader is enticed to buy a book, then takes it home and snuggles up in their comfy living room chair, opens the cover and doesn't read the whole story in her normal time, she will set down the book with the fabulous cover, amazing title, enticing back cover, and intriguing first page and most likely not pick it up again.

One writing instructor (sorry can't remember which one of the many I've heard) said:

We the writers make a contract with the reader, 
promising a story that will follow a course so compelling
she has to turn every page until the last.

This year, let's focus on ... not so much fixing a sagging middle, although this too is important--

But a growing overarching story that, like blowing up a balloon, expands, becoming with each word. Becoming what? Why the next recommended book by very appreciative readers.

For this reason, I chose today's photo. Colorful, cheery, glass-blown balloons floating in a Venetian store.

Some pitfalls to watch for:

1. While your MC should have a problem that gives the story purpose, she must be likable. Think Cinderella. We love her and feel for her plight from the beginning. Had the stepmother been the MC we probably would have put the book down.
2. When adding backstory, be careful not to repeat. Even when sprinkling in this essential information, as we are taught to do, readers will remember what was said before.
3. Shake up the beats. Lordy, lordy, do people really cry so much? Smile so much? Laugh so much? Instead, use setting, sounds, nature, anything that "is" to shake up those beats. Expand this essential storytelling time to bring meaning to the scene. Help readers see.

Let's aim for stories that "Become" until the last page.

~Mary Vee
Photo by Mary Vee

Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Christmas is Mary Vee's favorite holiday. She loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

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