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Posts tagged ‘UK novelist Sarah Mussi’

Creating Empathy For Your Characters (Secrets Of Narrative Drive), by Sarah Mussi

Just in case you are only now joining this series of posts, I’m going to reiterate a brief resume of my opening comments in post one, where I wrote that getting teenagers to read is a tough job. I pointed out that we know they have plenty of other things do with their lives, so as writers of novels for teens we need to roll up our sleeves and apply every tactic known to the craft of storytelling to get them not only to pick up our books but to carry on reading them when they’ve got past the initial storytelling hook.

In this post I’m going to share with you more on narrative drive and how to keep teenage readers glued to those pages.

The Secrets of Narrative Drive

Secret Number 4

drum roll…  tada!

  • whatever is ‘going to happen’ must matter to the reader 

To put this in context, remember in post three I wrote that the reader needs to be made the promise that ‘something is going to happen’ and that it will be worth reading on for. In order to encourage your reader to carry on reading you need to let them know the outcome is important.

Here’s the trick - you can only make the final outcome matter if the reader empathises with the protagonist.

So how can you seduce a reader into empathising with your main character?

I have a plan…

How you can you use this secret? 

  • Create a character who is likable (it sounds simple but you’d be surprised how often this is neglected).
  • Create a character who is a bit like your reader.
  • Give your character a huge hunger for a positive final outcome.

You can probably work out why the protagonist needs to be like your reader but why the ‘huge hunger’? As soon as we know someone wants something very badly we tend to want them to get it - in short we (mankind) love to see people’s desires fulfilled.

WATCH OUT FOR THE FIFTH SECRET OF NARRATIVE DRIVE COMING UP IN MY NEXT POST

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Sarah Mussi’s author website: www.sarahmussi.com

Sarah Mussi’s bio page

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United States (and beyond)

    

United Kingdom (and beyond)

     

Australia (and beyond)

The Door of No ReturnThe Last of the Warrior KingsAngel Dust     VibesProject 17Raven SpeakAcross the Universe

Writing Teen Novels
www.writingteennovels.com

Narrative Drive Is Not Related To Literary Merit (Secrets Of Narrative Drive), by Sarah Mussi

I started this series of posts by observing that getting teenagers to read is a tough job, and that we writers of young adult fiction needed all the tricks of the trade we can learn when taking it on.

I therefore pledged to disclose some of the many secrets I’ve learned over the years that have helped me hook young adult readers and keep them craving more.

And the biggest secret of all is how to harness the energy of Narrative Drive.

As I wrote in my first article, Narrative Drive helps create spellbinding stories. It keeps the reader glued to the pages. So let’s get straight on with…

The Secrets of Narrative Drive

Secret Number 2

drum roll…  tada!

  • Narrative drive does not necessarily have any literary merit.

This is an odd one and when I first discovered it I thought: OMG, surely not! All good writing should aspire to having literary merit. But after close reading of very many non-put-downable texts, and avid viewing of endless totally addictive TV dramas, I discovered that it is quite true. Just like all those yummy sweets that disappear one after the other from the bag and are definitely not good for your waistline (and even more disastrous for your teeth), so too the truth is: Narrative Drive only has to create a compulsion to carry on reading in order to work.

True Narrative Drive that will keep your readers glued to the pages only has to have:

  • the ’wait a minute; I just have to finish this chapter’ compulsion, and
  • the ‘I must find out what happens next’ appeal

And if you doubt my words, you only have to think of a second rate TV soap opera. Nowhere is addiction to narration more evident and empty of substance.

So how can you use this secret?

  1. Focus on the battle of forces between the protagonist and the antagonist.
  2. You don’t have to worry about ‘depth of meaning’ until a compelling interplay of forces is planned out.
  3. Make sure your story idea has strong conflict.

We have many examples of stories with little ‘literary merit’ in fiction and in film that nevertheless hold people’s attention.

WATCH OUT FOR THE THIRD SECRET OF NARRATIVE DRIVE COMING UP IN MY NEXT POST

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Sarah Mussi’s author website: www.sarahmussi.com

Sarah Mussi’s bio page

***

United States (and beyond)

    

United Kingdom (and beyond)

    

Australia (and beyond)

The Door of No ReturnThe Last of the Warrior KingsAngel Dust     The Puzzle RingGlowDeadly Little Voices (a Touch Novel) (Touch Novels)The Hunting

Writing Teen Novels
www.writingteennovels.com

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