Alphabet week #20 – “S”

For twenty weeks now, we’ve alphabetically dissected the things that we know that make us successful as writers, if we would remember them and apply them. There are boundless things that begin with the letter S to add to our growing equation, but this week we are going to wax poetic on the Simplistic.

At the end of the day, when we look back at everything that is, was, or will be…there are more than enough Stressors out in the world to keep us all in hives for the next decade. Instead, I urge you to focus on the Simple, the mundane, the pieces that are taken for granted and forgotten almost before they come to fruition. Why? Because there is so much attention given to the Sensationalized, the everything else is getting missed…and these are the things that NEED to be part of your writing world to make it believable.

For example, WHY is there a focused one second screen moment every time Batman gets in the Batmobile to show us him clicking his seatbelt? Because even in the movies there are things that are part of every action that are easily overlooked. Would we stop watching if we didn’t see Batman click the belt? No, but the subconscious watcher will…when getting into their own car to do their fast & furious have an unconscious urge to click their seatbelt. Funny, huh? Movies can influence behavior.

Books have the same power to influence action by the small motions that are noted…because they give the story depth and make it seem credible to life, even if it is only the subconscious mind that notes them. Now, this is not to suggest that we comment ad nauseam about every step in a process…that becomes overkill and WILL lose readers…the adage ‘Get in late and get out early’ is a tried and true method for more writers than I have storage capacity to list. Simplistically put, add detail to events that are already in focus, not add events that don’t drive your story to increase word count, book length, or scenes where they don’t belong.

Readers are SMART. They want a good story, told with great attention to detail, but also at a pace that they are motivated to keep turning pages. As a writer, we are charged with maintaining this balance as we entertain.  For week 20 and beyond, remember to see the simplistic and use it to fill out your work.

One other “S” that is always, always, always of value…and it’s from a movie too. When meeting readers, and other authors…remember Annie and complete your ensemble with your best feature. ‘You’re never fully dressed without your Smile.’



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