As an author, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to help my writing to be more interesting, dynamic, and meaningful, all in the effort to better connect with my readers. I’ve picked these tips from a variety of places: blogs, interviews, workshops and articles, and even the making-of documentaries that are often in the extras of home video.
A few examples…
– If you want to use a symbolic gesture in a story, you need to use it three times for the reader to really catch it and to understand the meaning you intend.
– An emotional shift should come every five minutes or so, or your readers will begin to become numb to the emotion you wish to convey.
– Allow your character’s dialog to help paint the scene instead of solely relying upon description. For an example from my latest novel, Runaway, here’s a scene where one character is trying to coach the other on how to act if they are boarded by the military for an inspection for contraband. Notice how I attempt to paint the scene as if the other character is getting distracted – all without one word of description.
“…Their scans must have come up with something, but they’re not sure which ship. Now, if they board us, you got to keep a level head! You hear me? Don’t go saying anything about our plans! Look at me now, look at me! Just answer all questions like we’re doing normal business, which we are. Got that?”
Now for another tip, check out Duarte’s analysis of MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream” speech. As experts on public speaking, they have done a lot of analysis on what makes addresses like MLK’s so engaging and memorable. In their short video, they’ve broken down this historic speech into various components and explain how MLK expertly alternated between reality and vision, his use of imagery, his knowledge of his audience(s), and his pacing and rhythm. This is a fascinating study and well worth taking a look.
Which of MLK’s techniques surprised you the most?