Your writing is packed with great ideas and useful advice. So why aren’t readers flocking to bookstores and your blog to read your writing? What are readers not getting from your writing?
Your facts and stories mean nothing if you don’t emotionally connect with readers. Shift reader interest from indifferent to engaged by transforming your writing into a winning reader experience.
Get Their Attention & Keep It
What do music, television, movies, and books have in common?
Well, they often tell a story and they are entertaining.
Oh, and they heighten our emotions!
Emotions occur when the reader is interested in the story. And storytelling is the craft of connecting with readers by gaining and keeping their attention. That means you must know who your audience is. What are their interests, reading and otherwise? What factors about these interests capture their attention? How can you replicate this in your writing?
We read words, but we think in pictures. Connect with readers by writing how they imagine your writing. Use concrete words that readers can visualize and avoid abstract concepts:
- Yes: church, hurricane, cake
- No: faith, fear, development
We associate previous experiences and emotions to concrete words we read. Specific images don’t isolate but draw readers in closer to your words.
Bring in the Senses
Why do concrete words work? Because they bring in the senses.
Readers want to experience the story, not just watch the show they’re creating in their head. They want to hear it, feel it, taste it, and smell it.
Each scene should include at least two senses–that’s not sight. Create descriptions or choose concrete words that evoke the senses–trash, bees, and needles are examples.
Know Your Readers
As I said earlier, storytelling is about knowing your audience so that you can connect with readers. Focus in on your audience’s interest in this particular genre:
- What emotions are your readers anticipating to have?
- How do they enjoy experiencing these emotions?
- Are you meeting their expectations?
Now broaden your focus on the genre:
- What emotions does this genre cause during the reading experience?
- What are successful examples? How do they evoke emotion?
- Does the genre support surprising readers with new emotions? Should you include a surprise emotion?
Test your writing out by reading it. If you aren’t feeling engaged when you read your work, chances are that your readers won’t be (or aren’t) either. Read writing that you know engages readers in your genre and analyze how and why it’s working.
How do you connect with readers in your writing?