Lesson Thursday continues through this month as I follow David Sedaris on MasterClass online. This week, I watched his lesson on connecting with readers. The same is said for first impressions because a reader may only pick up your book once, or only read the first few paragraphs. This feels cruel to us as writers because we bleed ourselves onto the page, but we’re not our readers.
Readers can be finicky, selective, and well – human. Everyone has their favorite authors and they also have books that they can’t seem to finish. How do we connect when they don’t know us? Well, David begins by talking about reading some pieces feeling more like exercises than real characters. This sounds like not having fully developed stories.
My blog is about provided exercises and prompts but the point is to get you moving forward to develop your writing and challenge yourself. You’re not a mechanical pencil. You’re the one holding the pencil. You have feelings, emotions, and character. So should your characters.
David goes on to talk about how people today, want a mirror. “They want to see themselves.” It’s natural that we gravitate toward people who have the same interests. Having characters with human traits that aren’t perfect is a good way to start. His point of being honest with yourself and in your writing will make you more relatable. He also says that it can alienate you from some groups but you can’t control other people’s perception anyway. There are going to be some that can’t relate, and that’s okay.
Since he’s a humorist, using the first rule in comedy is also one way to connect, and that’s to make fun of yourself first. People naturally get angry when you make fun of them, so make it about yourself. David has taken on horrible characteristic about himself, and then used it for some of his characters. He said, “you can’t write humor and not be able to laugh at yourself.”
I guess his point is that we don’t need to go on some long journey or go through years of enlightenment to connect with our readers. As David would say, be genuine with your writing. We just need to look at ourselves for examples and places to being because all of our humanness makes us relatable. Give your characters some human traits even if they need an ah-ha moment to get there.
My posts are Monday through Friday.
Imagine Inspire Create: 52 Weeks of action and gratitude is available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09S6XCLFY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Q7MHM9CFBSASDG56YMJQ
Get closer to your writing goals with my Writer’s Journal filled with writing prompts and exercises. You can find a copy at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0931QRL7C/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_VTHN0QSHXRYK6RJ1XSWQ.