24 July 2012

B is for Bravery, Brevity, and Brand

If there is anything I'd like to say about the pleasures of reading, the 3 B words: bravery, brevity and brand come to mind. If your work employs these three things while creating content, I will stay tuned! Let's explore each.


Bravery

When a writer is brave enough to throw it all out there, we readers are in awe. It is very difficult to put what's in your head into the public view, even if it is under the safety net of being considered "fiction". If you wrote it, your brain created it. There is the risk family and friends will read it and pass judgment. How do we make fiction feel real if we don’t add a little truth? Therein lies the problem.

We invoke thoughts and feelings from our characters and make their actions as real as any human would be inclined to make during candid moments when nobody should be witness to them. A writer who wants to be honest with her audience would express these things. She must engage on a level which I believe requires a certain amount of bravery.

There are moments a writer must consider the human condition, exposed, and not become inhibited by his fears of judgment from those who may turn out to be his biggest fans, the very people who would uphold his fictional creations against the moralistic standards of his peers.

It is the very reason 50 Shades of Grey is such a hit. It is brave to put your work out there, not knowing if there is an audience who will support it, thrive on it even. I haven't read it, but I will defend it because it worked.


Brevity

Have you ever received an email and wanted to close it right away because it was so long and had very few instances of white space? I have and it’s rather annoying. That’s why it is important to keep things as brief as possible. The last thing you want any reader to do is put down your work because it was just too cumbersome to read.

Tell us what you wish to convey in as few words as possible without having to struggle with long drawn out sentences. Every word I read, which I feel I didn’t need to read, makes me a little grumpy.

Don't tell me her skin was dark brown and she wore blue eye-shadow and her skirt stood out in shades of yellow and orange, and all other colors of the rainbow, in folds of chiffon patterned fabric, while she moved across the dance floor sashaying and twirling like a ballerina.

Just tell me she looked like RuPaul auditioning for the lead in Black Swan.


Brand

But what’s going to keep me coming back? I think for me, it is your brand. I can pick up a book by Stephen King or Dean Koontz or Danielle Steele and right away I know to whom it belongs. That sort of connection is what you want your readers to feel. I want to pick up your work (or visit your blog) and go, “Oh yeah, so-and-so wrote that!”

How does that happen? Consistency is the key. Do you write once per month, once per week, or on a daily basis? Do you provide funny stories with artwork like Super Earthling (sorry, had to plug one of my favorite blogs)?

It is the thing which makes you rise above the many others who do the same ole thing.

So, are you verbose or brief? Are you brave or still concerned about your privacy?



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