By J Sherer
Taking last week’s theoretical framework, let’s look at an example to showcase how it plays out. Theories are great, but if you can’t apply them to produce results, they don’t mean much.
Question #1: How can my writing add value to my readers?
Starting at a very high level, I’m going to use my own writing as an example. Notice I’ve numbered the value-added criteria. That’s important, because those numbers will help define your priority. That said, I add value by:
1. Providing entertainment.
2. Inspiring others.
3. Provoking thought.
Priority is essential. Imagine me sitting in front of my computer. I come to a place in the story (whether I’m writing the first draft or editing) where I have to decide what’s more important, entertainment or inspiration. If I can’t pull both things off, I have to strategically choose between the two. The choice may be subtler than that. In any given story arc or passage I may have to choose which element to emphasize. My core strategy should define that.
My core strategy defines whether or not I should write an action sequence or a heated argument, use simple sentences or complex, it may even help me choose a genre and define the story’s characters or its focus (especially true in journalistic writing).
Question #2: How do I want my readers to respond to my work?
Take yourself out of the writer’s shoes for a moment and place yourself on the opposite side of the page. Become your audience group. What does your audience expect? Do they want to be introduced to new ideas? Thrilled? Pushed into action?
Look at Dan Brown, writer of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code. While his primary purpose is to entertain, he definitely writes to provoke thought as well (though, in my opinion those thoughts are totally bogus...but at least it's interesting). His audience expects that from him. That’s his core strategy. That’s how he adds value.
Start at the core strategy, because it’s going to affect everything else you choose to do through your writing. If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Also, I’m headed out on vacation for a couple weeks (and doing some research for a novel I’m working on), so it may be a little while before you hear from me again, but I’ll be back soon to finish out the series. Thanks for reading!