Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find tips that will help you write books and articles that establish you as the expert in your market.
                   --Lee Pound

April 2020
« Aug    

The Only Two Kinds of, well, Everything

We live in a world where everything is segmented. Specialists dig down deep into a tiny niche and become an expert in it. Writers debate over the merits of this or that genre (bookstores do care which you choose). Scientists specialize in narrower areas of study, knowing everything about a tiny thing and not much about the big picture.

I could go on and on. The point is that by specializing, by paying close attention to the details, we miss the big picture, the two or three great truths that we must follow everywhere to succeed.

Let’s take writing as an example since that’s were I concentrate. And by the way, this doesn’t matter, as you will see later. The truth that I will show you here works everywhere. First a general example then I’ll tell why there are only two kinds of writing (and by extension, two kinds of sales, products, speeches, politicians, preachers, closes, cars — you get what I mean).

In fiction and non-fiction writing we create characters. You can go on the web and find detailed discussions of how to create characters, many of them thousands of words long. They all contain good information about traits, looks, background, how many dogs they have, where they brush their teeth, and among others whether their gray hair is very gray or very white. All of this is good. However, it is superficial and creates only a visual statue that stands there and does nothing.

The crucial element of a good character is this: In any given situation, what will that character do?

Now that you know the question, you can go back and create the details that matter. Is it important that she have black or brown hair? Is it important he was teased as a child? Is it important that her big toe is crooked? Use only those details that matter. Everything else is useless fluff. Some people will say that genre matters. A science fiction character will be different from a romance genre character. Sorry, that’s not true at its base. To make either story work, you still need to know what the character will do in any given situation. The details may differ but you still need the same set of details.

Now to the big question: What are the two kinds of writing? If you listened to the video below, you already know. They have nothing to do with genre, with whether it is fiction or non-fiction, or whether it is business related or personal.

The only kind of writing you need to do is interesting writing. The other kind, which you better not be doing, it boring writing.

Writing is interesting if it attracts your readers, keeps them reading, gives them fascinating characters, gives them a lesson, gives them the next steps, and answers their questions.

Writing is boring if the reader reads the first paragraph, closes the book and never opens it again. If you don’t want that to happen to you, read on.

If you write an interesting mystery, people will read it. If you write a boring mystery, people won’t read it. The trick is that you may not know which you’ve written until you hand it to other people and ask them to read it.

I suspect that 90% of all books submitted for publication are boring. Agents reject over 99% of what they receive, mostly because it is unreadable. In the slush pile in the basement, a secretary reads first page after first page, searching for the one book that grabs his or her attention. Very few meet that criterion. It’s better that a friend tell you it’s bad than that an agent tell you.

The problems include poor sentence structure, poor spelling and grammar, lack of knowledge of fiction and non-fiction craft (until you know what this is, you won’t know you don’t have it), poor characters, rambling passages, flabby writing, and many more.

For now, forget about all the details and learn the big picture. Learn how to grab attention, how to make characters come alive, how to propel the reader through the book, how to create satisfying conflict, and how to keep the tension working to the end.

Did you notice that in the big picture there is one big concept, interesting or boring. In my character example, there is one big concept, what he or she will do in a given situation. Both these concepts apply in every possible business and personal situation. Try it. It will change the way you think.

The more interesting you make everything you do, the better chance you will have of getting the success you want.

Be Sociable, Share!

1 comment to The Only Two Kinds of, well, Everything

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>