Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Emotional Connections - Not Just for the Bachelorette

Imagine for a moment there’s a hot guy staring at you. You’re also single. (I didn’t say this wouldn’t be a stretch.)

You glance back and your eyes meet Hot Single Guy’s momentarily. He looks away. So… he’s not a creep.

A hot guy who doesn’t treat you like a fresh piece of meat? You need to find out more.

Your heart pounds as you approach. “How’s it going?” you ask.

Then he proceeds to tell you. His grandmother died last year. His Great Aunt lives about 20 minutes from this park bench. He was born in Delaware. He likes cats. He, he, he…

He seemed so normal before he started talking.

In five minutes, not once has he asked a question about you. Not once has he tried to connect with you. There was that first alluring glance, but it was all in the toilet after that.

Sadly, we’ve all met someone like this man. But we, as smart, caring women wouldn’t dare be “that person” to anyone else… would we?

I hate to say it, but there are a lot of writers out there (I’m guilty! I’m guilty!) who treat our readers just like the guy on the park bench treated you. Writers (that’s me!) who say nothing at the beginning of a chapter, at the beginning of an article, at the beginning of a poem, to help the readers feel connected to us or our story.

Oh, we talk about ourselves or our characters plenty. But there’s no common emotion to bring the reader into our world.

And to be honest… it makes our readers feel a little used.

So I challenge you – let's start our stories in places where the reader can emotionally relate. No dry monologues, please. Let's ask ourselves, What could I say that would make the reader relate to the character emotionally?

As for the answer to that question, I defer to you lovely ladies. It’s time to pitch your ideas. What makes you want to keep up a friendship, even if the guy isn’t hot?

What are some ways you're trying to connect through your story?
B.J. Hamrick writes for you and for teens at http://www.realteenfaith.com/

1 comment:

  1. I think a big factor is a sense of relatability. You mentioned connection, for me in a new friendship or relationship in my life, it needs to be that I understand, and am understood. I want to know where they are but more than that, I want to know they understand where I am. That could be between two young moms swapping horror stories over their kids last diaper, (Hi Erynn! haha) between two friends who realize married life isn't perfect and ::GASP:: isn't going to be, or between a girl and guy on a third date who realize that they both had vowed to stay pure before marriage. It's a sense of understanding that makes you want to learn more - you feel safe in the confidences, safe in relatability that guarantees you are not alone, you'r enot the only one to feel that way...

    Our characters can do this by embracing topics that are dear to all (or at least a large audience) of readers. By sharing moments in their lives that will have readers holding up their hands and saying "me too!!!!"