I mentioned in yesterday’s post three elements common to all of the bestselling movies and books of all time–the fact that ALL of them are set in another time and place, nearly all of them are aimed at a broad audience (the only exception in film being The Godfather, which was aimed at a primarily male adult audience (though television ads featured the wedding scenes, which lured women in, too), and all of the bestsellers also register high on the emotional Richter scale.
There is nothing wrong in trying to write novels that don’t adhere to this formula. You can do just fine writing mysteries set in the present day that feature an old woman as a protagonist, for example. There’s nothing set in stone that says that you have to set your books in another time and place in order to sell. You can also decide that you’re only interested in writing to teens and make a living, rather than have a broad audience.
But here’s something interesting: you might be able to ignore the advice on setting and on targeting a wide audience, but you can’t ignore one thing: you still have to score high on the emotional Richter scale if you want to attract attention and make a living. Some authors will say, “Well I don’t want to appeal to my readers’ emotions, I want to appeal to their intellect.” But when you appeal to a reader’s intellect–when you surprise them with insights, or make them feel as if their head will explode from a revelation, or when you twist your story in dizzying directions that they’d never imagined–your intellectual insights invariably lead to powerful emotional responses.
On Tuesday, I’m going to explain in far greater detail why people choose to read the books that they read.
Note: Fyrecon is attempting to get a grant. All you have to do is click the “like” button after clicking on this link. In January, I will be releasing my latest book, Casting Your Novel which helps with character development. I also have had my Serpent Catch series bundled which you can find by clicking on this link. I am also going to be doing YouTube videos from now on with writing tips. You can view my first one here.