by Janice Thompson
Likely you’ve heard the old expression, “Women are from Mars, men are from Venus.” It’s so true, isn’t it? While we may have common goals, our methods of getting there are quite different. Add the various personalities/temperaments to the mix and you will see the potential for both hilarity and adventure.
As writers, we must remember that we’re from Mars. Well, maybe not really from Mars, but we’re unusual people. We think differently. Story ideas pop into our heads at the drop of a hat. Our characters talk to us. We’re always plotting.
Readers aren’t like us. They’re from Venus. They’re not thinking up stories or writing, writing, writing their ideas. Likely they’re overwhelmed with a heavy workload or changing diapers. They’re on the run, headed to soccer practice or taking a loved one to the doctor’s office. They’re facing health challenges, wondering how they’re going to put the next meal on the table or grieving the death of a loved one. When these dear readers find an opportunity to sit and relax, they reach for a book to take them away from their troubles, and to offer excitement. We are their “Calgon, take me away!” opportunity.
So, if writers are from Mars and readers are from Venus, how do we write the stories, non-fiction books and articles that truly jive with their life experiences? Simple. We’ve got to pay attention to the very real struggles they’re facing and write about those. Our stories don’t have to be morose or even intense. It’s possible to write a light-hearted comedy and still touch on relevant life issues.
If we set out to write stories to captivate readers, our characters will seem so real they practically jump off the page. Our settings will sizzle. The reader will feel transported. Our plotlines will move up, down, then back up again, plummeting at just the right moment. In short, we will take our reader on a journey.
Sometimes we get it wrong. We’re so interested in writing what we want to write…so interested in getting our own way…that our writing doesn’t ring true to the reader. She feels left out. And because she feels left out, she closes the book on page thirty-two, tosses it aside, and mutters, “Well, that was a waste of time.”
Don’t waste her time. Get to know her. Understand what makes her tick. Then invest in characters, plots, settings, and themes that will not only draw her in, but will give her hope. Our ultimate goal is to encourage, to uplift. (Of course, we want to take the reader on the ride of her life, too!)
You can do it, writer. Even though you’re from Mars. You can travel to the reader’s world and give her what she really longs for. And in the process, you’ll learn a great many lessons about what life on Venus is really like.
Janice Hanna Thompson has published over 100 books for the Christmas market, including romantic comedies, historicals, cozy mysteries and more. She lives in Spring Texas near her children and grandchildren. When she’s not writing, Janice spends her time baking and decorating cakes and cookies. You can find her at www.janicehannathompson.com, on Facebook
or on her baking page, Nina’s Cakes and Cookies.
Great points! Thank you for writing this. I definitely feel like I’m from Mars sometimes.
I attended a school picnic yesterday and watched my kids playing with other kids, while visualizing a scene for an upcoming book.
All the other parents were talking with each other and I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” I had to quickly jot down the story idea so I could join the real world. 🙂
I’m learning that it’s important to experience the moments in life fully as well as to take time to assimilate the experiences, think, pray, and then write.