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Writer’s Tip #27: People Read to Learn

writers tipsWhen you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: People like insider information

Lots of people want to learn from what they read. That doesn’t mean you present a textbook-style, footnoted narrative on a topic. It means you share fascinating bits of knowledge wrapped in the accouterments of fiction writing–characters, plot, setting. Tell us about the Thames as part of a London scene. Share background on Sherlock Holmes in dialogue, as your character tries to solve a crime. Salt your story with amazing facts that will stay with your reader even better than the outcome of the plot. Did you read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code? The reason for its popularity is the insider knowledge he included. The plot was good, but not unusual. The knowledge is what set the book apart.

You may not have an art history sort of novel, but throw in fascinating facts now and then. It’ll grab your reader and they’ll keep turning the pages, hoping for more.

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3 thoughts on “Writer’s Tip #27: People Read to Learn

  1. And to build on that, don’t forget to reveal stuff to your character little by little. Make it a discovery all their own. If they discover your characters dreaded fear of belly button lint BEFORE the scene with the shirtless pastor, that scene is going to be so much more enjoyable. ^^

  2. Read my story? Read my story? It’s not for me to read my story. I do the writing. Others read it. Read my story? Whatever next? Pictures of cats, no doubt.

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