Why Your Point Of View Needs A Subterranean Motive

Caleb NEW

This is a cover I’m designing for an update to my sci-fi thriller, My Name is Caleb; I am Dead. I got a great review for the book from Taylor Morrison, and I’m softening up towards commercialism in my cover designs. I wanted to fully embrace commercial appeal from day one, but I didn’t know how. I am approaching market viability one step at a time.

I didn’t realize that I’d neglected to update the interior of the book with Vellum, so that’s also in the works.

In Other News

The ‘a’ key on my laptop has worked loose, and refuses to adhere properly to the little hook parts underneath. I am training myself to type gently over the key so that it doesn’t pop off with every vigorous ‘a’ stroke.

Funnily enough, this quirk has made me grow fonder of my laptop. I have one of the MacBook Air laptops with the shredding power cords. I was patching it diligently with electrical tape, but my beloved spouse, observing the sticky and disintegrating cord, carried me forcibly to the Apple store and bought me a new one.

Now, Ulterior Motives For Point Of View

Your novel is necessarily written from one point of view or another; I tend to favor third person omniscient, but there are many kinds of point of view, and they are all good for achieving different effects. What we are talking about today is the message relayed by the style of point of view. What are you telling your readers, subtly, about the overall meaning of the story?

Every book relays a conglomerate of messages; the most long-lasting and impactful communication is that portrayed by the overall implications of the point of view. We’ll look now at some broad examples, to give you an idea of what I mean.

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is (mostly) written from a bemused, factual third-person omniscient point of view that gives the novel as a whole a sense of inevitable absurdity and reverence; the novel mourns for, judges, and prods acerbic fun at the characters.

Agatha Christie

Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, on the other hand, embraces a first person, past tense point of view, which turns out wonderfully in the final chapters when you find out the doctor’s been (spoiler, spoiler, spoiler). In this book, the subterranean message is one of deceit, danger, and false jollity. The book would lose much of its marvelously eerie, suspenseful quality without this point of view. The underlying message, that of the intensely personal and permanent nature of homicide, makes the scenes excessively memorable.

Victor Hugo

One more example is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you haven’t read the unabridged novel, you’ve missed most of the point of the book, which is a third person omniscient impassioned ode to the architecture of Paris. Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and the emotionally impoverished Frollo are incidental to the main story, which is a very long and loving treatment of the city. This point of view creates a backdrop against which the characters move like miniatures picked out against an expansive landscape.

What Does Your Point Of View Say?

Books that have no second or third meaning, and that do not contain an overt message about life, art, and humanity, are books that do not last. The best and surest way to convey such a message is like this:

Examples:

Message: Life is hard, and people are corrupt inside.

Point of View: First person, present tense

I’m getting ahead of myself. I started to tell you about the day that I died. It was an afternoon, of course, broad daylight. Not at all the sort of scene you imagine, when you picture yourself dying suddenly. I always thought I would go in a car accident, if I died early. I hadn’t even found a girlfriend. It was incredibly ironic. I’d gotten away from my parents, I had a house that I almost owned, and I was current on my taxes. Plus, I’d just gotten a raise at work, and my boss liked me. I thought it was one of the best days of my life. Well, I wasn’t thinking right at that moment, this is the best day of my life, but I did have that feeling of something really great starting. I felt like I had been digging my way out of a deep hole, and I’d finally reached the surface and started to make some kind of genuine progress, and then Bam! Dead. Heart failure, or something. You don’t really find out, when you die like that, and are taken up right away. You don’t find out what it was that killed you. I suppose most people do some sort of hovering deal, you know, their soul hanging around over their corpse for a few days before they figure out that it’s time to move on. I would’ve found out what killed me, if that’d happened, because the ambulance would have come, and the people would have said to each other what killed me.

This is a passage from a book I’m writing about a young man who is enslaved by a goddess, and made to act as an undead guardian to humanity. This example is tricky, because it almost reads as first person past tense, but it is technically present tense, as Paul is speaking in the moment and telling the story.

I think I need to talk myself down from trickiness. I am apt to be too complex. In the meantime, here is another example:

Message: People are good inside, and honesty always pays off.

Point of View: Third person, past tense

Going inside the castle, she rummaged in the junk room until she located a putty knife. She took it out to the front steps and began scraping the wall until she hit smooth stone.

“Much better,” the princess said. The blackened goop peeled away in reams of thick, greasy sludge that dripped and seemed almost alive.

“No, no, please, oh please, no,” groaned the voice from the door. “Not my beautiful lovely sludge! I have been cultivating that sludge for decades, and now you mean to peel away my protective skin with a putty knife? What kind of a princess are you?”

“A cleaning princess,” she said, and got to work with the putty knife. After a few minutes she had cleared a sizable chunk on the wall, and she retrieved her rag, rinsed it clean, and scrubbed the stone. “That’s more like it,” she said, as she saw clean, bright white stone emerge.

And Now, For Contrast, A Terrible One

Before I jump into the bad example, remember that when you choose no message, your message is chosen for you by your psychological precedents. A message will be conveyed, whether or not you formulate one. Is it not better, particularly in the realm of art, to make a choice, and control the emotional outcome as far as you are able?

Bad Writing:

Message: I’m a super cool storyteller, and my readers love me!

Point of View: Psh! I don’t need a point of view! I’m a genius!

The house was dark; she held the phone against her chest, waiting until the time arrived. I knew he would come for me, even though there wasn’t any light to see by.

I’m outside the house, and there are no friends with me this time. I’m going to get that magical necklace she’s got. I don’t know where she got it from. It’ll be mine soon.

Her heart beats, and her knees shake. She doesn’t want to open her eyes.

I open the door. Then I realize I can’t, because it’s locked.

I hear the doorknob jiggle. My opening eyes take in the light from the desktop alarm, and the modem blinks. They aren’t afraid. Not like I am.

He goes to the window, and tries the casing.

Today’s Takeaway

The point of view that you choose inevitably creates a rhetorical framework, and determines the most lasting impression your story will leave on the reader. For example, in my very long and gradual fantasy series, the point of view is third omniscient, past tense, and the framework, the purpose of the novel and the overall message is about sex. Ajalia starts out as a severely-traumatized woman, and the whole impetus of the nine books, the through-line, is her sexual development. The moment she can get busy with Delmar, the story ends, because the point of the story is that sexual trauma is real, lasting, and possible to work through and heal from.

Well, Victor!

I’ve said this before, but I used to work every day with actors, and I found that every single one of them (yes, really) had severe energy blocks through the pelvic cradle. They could not bring their true selves onto the stage, and they could not mate. Their creative selves were almost completely obliterated. More to the point, they were incapable of love.

What Do You Mean, Incapable Of Love?

This problem fascinated me. I chose a female protagonist (Ajalia), because the damage in the women was incredibly worse than than in the men, and I framed the series as a practical exercise in releasing and integrating pelvic trauma. I gave Ajalia a perfect energy match (Delmar), and I went to work on their bodies.

The book unfolds slowly, and gently, because opening and integrating the pelvic cradle is delicate work, and it is dangerous. The characters heal, one piece at a time, and the series ends with a satisfying fade out on the wholly-integrated Delmar and Ajalia about to finally have sex.

The Ultimate Fade-To-Black

There’s a good deal of kissing, and even more talking, but the purpose, the sole motivating factor in the series, is real sex. By real sex, I mean sex in which both partners are whole, complete, and volitional in the practice.

The next time I produce a show, and I end up with three young women sitting forlornly in my living room and asking me to teach them how to date, I will be ready. And the next time I have a probably-gay actor following me around like an abandoned puppy, I shall have something more useful to offer him (because I cannot adopt the whole world, or my entire cast).

And Yes, Actors Have Tried To Move In With Me

The biggest obstacle in the past has been time; I can heal individuals, but the work often takes weeks, if not months, and everything moves like sludge because the subject has to understand what is happening in order to maintain the new energy forms after I’m out of the picture.

Because If Healing Doesn’t Last, It Does More Harm Than Good

Therefore, I wrote an extended analogy. If I meet an actor who is damaged, and longing for more, I can hand off a tidy pile of novels, and then have a ready lexicon for the eventual dialogue and individual work to follow.

This type of thinking may appear ludicrously long-term to some of you; I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t. I am satisfied with all of my preliminary trials of the novels; they appear to function as I intended them to. You, of course, are welcome to try them out yourself, but be warned that they are rather long, and will make a lot of anger and heat rise through your physical shell. Releasing old injuries often manifests as sudden rage, or as a fever.

You’re reading Victor Poole. Don’t buy Caleb until I’ve updated it, okay? And many thanks to Taylor, who took the time to read and review my science fiction novel!

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The 7 Qualities Of Energetically-Whole Writing

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I first realized that I could see auras when I was sitting in a darkened theatre on my university campus, studying the seniors performing their auditions final. I see movement of the energy field around bodies. If I concentrate, I can recreate within myself the sensation of being anyone else, as long as I have a picture or video (or real-life interaction) to work from.

Quality 1: The Writing Moves Forward At Or Above The Pace Of A Human Heartbeat

A lot of the time, it sort of looks like I can read minds.

There I was, watching Geoffrey perform monologues back-to-back. All the students in the class had to compile and then perform contrasting pieces from different eras and styles, and then they had to sing a funny song and a sad song.

Quality 2: An Inner Lining Of Burning Integrity In The Writing Cleanses, Or Scrubs, The Upper Layers In The Reader’s Energy Field

Geoffrey was singing the prince’s letter from Aida when things started to click into place for me; I could literally see, traveling through his body, flares of bright, animating energy. What is more, I could see when and where those flares were diverted and blocked by muscular tension around his solar plexus and in his arms.

Quality 3: A Steady, Rhythmic Diet Of Intensely Intimate Moments In The Writing Draws The Reader’s Trauma To The Surface Of The Body

Actors (well, all human beings) compensate for blocked impulses by creating facsimile emotions in many different ways–by raising their eyebrows, by thrusting out their jaws, by holding their breath, or by puffing up different parts of their major muscle groups (Geoff pulled back his shoulders and engorged his pectoral muscles when he felt exposed or vulnerable.)

Quality 4: A Consistent, Internally-Sound Moral Framework And Worldview Is Gradually Revealed Within The World Of The Writing

What does energy reading have to do with fiction? Soon after I finished high school, and about the time I started studying acting in university, it occurred to me that I was being overwhelmingly affected by the books that I read.

Quality 5: Deeper Traumas In The Reader Are Assigned Symbolic Meaning Within The Writing, And Isolated From The Main Personality Of The Reader (Which Is Bonded To A Pure Main Character)

Previous to this, I read pretty much anything. It was not uncommon for me to get through eight or more books in a week, depending on when I went to the library. As my energy-perception skills grew, I found that some books–Dante’s writing is notable here, as well as Mamet’s plays–degraded my own spiritual elements with unbearable toxicity. Some books were poisoning me.

Quality 6: The Symbols In The Writing Which Are Attached To The Deep Traumas In The Reader Are Systematically Cut Away And Destroyed Entirely, Thereby Purging The Damaged Energy From The Reader’s Energy Field

It took me a while to believe that this was happening. I stopped reading anything that slowed my own energy cycles (I have advanced internal machinery–one of the perks of being sensitive to impulse chains). When I stopped reading toxic fiction, I found that there were other books, not many, that enhanced my internal experience (Shakespeare and PG Wodehouse are the most notable examples of this).

Quality 7: Once The Energy Field Is Cleared Of Severe Trauma, New Energy Structures Are Constructed In The Reader By Symbolic Triumphs And Culminating Relationships Of The Bonded Main Character

I started reading more carefully, and as I continued to write, I began to experiment. I asked myself if I could alter another person’s energy through a written medium. I had, by this point, become remarkably adept at altering the sub-structures of other people’s energy fields in real time.

These 7 Qualities Are Incorporated Into Every Energetically-Whole Piece Of Writing

You see, I found that I could change people enormously while I was near them; I could, in fact, loan out massive amounts of my own cultivated energy, and then take it back after a time. I experimented twice with more permanent loans; these were disastrous, and I took my energy back.

 

A Convenient Summation

To sum up, the seven qualities of energetically-whole fiction are:

  1. The pace moves at or slightly above the speed of a human heartbeat.
  2. An inner layer of burning integrity from the author scrubs the upper layer of the reader’s energy field.
  3. The reader’s internalized trauma is pulled to the surface by rhythmically-spaced moments of intense vulnerability in the writing.
  4. An internally-sound moral ideology is gradually revealed through the world of the writing.
  5. Trauma in the reader is assigned symbolic meaning within the writing, and isolated from the main personality of the reader (which is simultaneously bonded to a main character).
  6. The reader’s trauma is cleansed as the bonded symbols are systematically and thoroughly eliminated in the fiction.
  7. New, constructive energy fields are built in the reader by symbolic triumphs or relational climaxes on the part of the bonded main character.

You’ve been reading Victor Poole. All seven of these qualities are incorporated into this series, which will cleanse and rebuild your energy field. Climate specialists probably think that reading Caleb on Mondays will probably save the rainforest.

How To Find Out If Your Protagonist Is A Welcoming Host

Does your leading character lend inclusive energy to your writing? I am not at all saying that your protagonist needs to be likable, or even kind, but does their energy invite observation?

Just as you welcome valued guests into your living space, and seek to make them as comfortable as possible, so your protagonist, if your fiction is really good, must welcome and invite the reader into the world of your novel.

Common Mistakes, And How To Avoid Them

Something we often do as authors who are writing genre fiction is fall into the trap of the non-hosting, aloof, cool character. Now, don’t get me wrong, aloof characters are the bomb in genre fiction; nothing like a really competent adventurer or fighter quite hums along in science fiction or fantasy. The calm, clear-headed individual who keeps their secrets close to the vest is compelling, interesting, and just plain cool. This brings us to our first common error.

Mistake #1: Outside The House

The first mistake is to keep the reader outside the world of the novel. Authors do this when they are nervous about being taken seriously, or sometimes when they are intimidated by their own material.

Bad Writing (Reader on the outside):

Silas turned to the left, and then the to right. His hand hovered over the night-stick he carried, and then he shook his head and moved back into the shadows. After some time, he found a great hiding spot, and he waited. The sounds of the things he hunted passed silently away, and Silas stood, cautious, like a spider in the corner of a well-swept room. Anytime now, he thought. They’ll make a mistake soon. He returned home, and went to bed.

Good Writing (Reader on the inside):

Silas glanced left and right before darting across the dimly-lit highway. His purple night-stick, with which he had felled many overgrown carnivorous rabbits, bounced noiselessly against his side. He ducked into a shadow that lay behind a broken truck, and waited.

In a moment, the thumping of enormous bodies echoed down the interstate. Silas waited until the massive shadow of two great ears extended beyond the truck, and then he threw himself at the monstrous bunny, his purple night-stick in his fist.

When you are writing your science fiction or fantasy world, go back through the passages and check; does your protagonist invite the reader in, or keep them out? And think: What reader in their right mind would pay to stand outside an interesting fantasy world? Answer: Probably not any readers will pay for this privilege.

Mistake #2: Oversharing, Or Making The Reader Do The Dishes

The second common mistake in this vein is made when a writer shoves the menial work, the basic upkeep of the storytelling, onto the visiting reader. If you invited your most valuable guests into your home, like your boss, or your favorite celebrity, or that really cool kid who might turn out to be your new friend (you hope), would you feed them dinner and then shove a sponge into their laps, and tell them they’re washing up?

No, you would not do this! Why? Because it is completely counter-intuitive, and degrades the guest from a person of honor to an unpaid serf.

Tell me, how many readers do you think will pay for the privilege to co-write the book with you? Because that is essentially what you are doing when you expect your readers to clean up the details of your work.

Bad Writing (Reader does the dishes):

Silas smashed his stick over the skull of the bunny. He hoped he had exerted sufficient force to break through the bone, because he had found in the past that there were weak places in the bunny heads, and if he hit one exactly right, it would fall down, and he could slice it open with his knife. He really thought that if he could get enough rabbit blood on him, and spill it over the ground, the other bunnies would maybe get distracted, and he would be able to kill more now, instead of later.

Good Writing (You keep the dishes in the sink for later):

Silas brought his stick down in the head of the bunny, which shook him violently off. Silas flew through the air, and collided with another giant rabbit. This one was black and white, and had the most evil-looking red eyes he had ever seen.

Silas caught hold of the silky fur of the beast, and flipped himself onto its back. The black and white rabbit screamed an unearthly scream, and Silas smashed his purple stick down in exactly the right place in the back of the rabbit’s head. A crunching sound rewarded his efforts, and the bunny collapsed in a furry heap.

Mistake #3: Enmeshment, Or The Dreaded Absorption Into The Borg

The last mistake we will talk over today occurs when you fail to use normal boundaries. For the sake of brevity, I will show you what I mean, rather than elucidating at length.

Bad Writing (Enmeshment with the reader):

Silas felt at peace with the world as he skinned the enormous rabbit. He wouldn’t have to eat his stores of canned peas any longer. He hated peas, because they did horrible things to his digestion, and he had found a bargain of a stew cookbook in a trash bin yesterday. It smelled kind of like pee, and he suspected the rabbits had been using the dumpster as a waste area, but the last time he had tried to make rabbit stew it came out lumpy, and he had been pulling sinew out of his teeth for days.

Good Writing (Healthy boundaries):

Silas gloried in the silence that reigned in the dawn as he cut the enormous pelt from the dead rabbit. He had been meaning to replace his rabbit-skin boots for some time now, and the variated fur on this beast would make a striking pair.

Silas whistled through his teeth as he laid the skin aside, and began to carve choice cuts of meat from the body of the dead bunny. I’ll make that delicious stew, he thought, as he piled the bloody provisions in the lined bag he had brought for that purpose. And, he told himself, as he hefted the bloody pelt, and slung the meat over his shoulder, I won’t have to eat any more of those blasted canned peas.

And Also

As an extra treat, here is a picture of my cat, Rose, who has spent the last five minutes cautiously hunting a wasp that got into the house. She is a little younger than two years old, and believes she is a wild huntress of the night. I like her very much.

rose

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books, which are hosted by Caleb, Samuel, and Ajalia, are here. It has been statistically proven that Friday is the best day of all to start reading The Slave from the East.

How To Write Traditional Fantasy In A World Of Urban Romance

There are people (you might be one of them) who go back on a regular basis to read Lord of the Rings. It feels lush. It captures, for many of us, what fantasy writing is actually about.

Why Isn’t There More Stuff That Feels Like LOTR?

Morality and gender are the key places where contemporary fantasy falls off the bus. Many of us find ourselves returning to the classic standards of science fiction and fantasy precisely because they fill up that aching need inside of us in a way that most new books fail to do.

Fans Of Mercedes Lackey, Watch Out!

I was probably thirteen when I finally gave up on contemporary fantasy novels. Like most of you reading this, I read a lot as a kid. Fantasy worlds and imaginary places helped me escape from difficult things I didn’t have the power to fix. The moment I gave up on new fantasy was when I was standing next to a little book turnstile that my home-town library kept at the end of the art history shelf. This turnstile was stuffed, alphabetically by author, with historical romance and fantasy novels (I was there for the fantasy books).

Upstairs was a wider selection of the classics, and of middle grade fiction, but down on the main level, and in these plastic turnstiles, was the contemporary sword and sorcery type stuff.

It was the series Lackey wrote about white horses. The covers were lovely; the first two books were pretty good. It was the third book, I think, that stopped me reading.

Where Are You Going With This?

I got tired of the cheap sex. I got tired of the contradictory morals of the characters (fighting evil officially, stabbing their best friends in the back privately). I got tired of believing in work that, eventually, seemingly inevitably, betrayed me as thoroughly as life kept betraying me.

What’s Immoral About Sex?

Let’s talk for a moment about prostitution and procuring. Prostitution, the selling of the temporary use of one’s gender presentation to an uncommitted partner, is, perhaps, the most unromantic and unsavory of subjects in fiction. Pimping, the professional exploitation of the prostitute, is, in fiction, probably the highest and most corrupt depiction of villainy that is possible in the human range of evil.

What About Killing Babies? Isn’t That Worse?

To be perfectly frank, a person who manages prostitutes and drains them of autonomy and resources is both the creator and destroyer of life—of babies, if you will. There is no way to come out clean from this scenario; unless an author is writing this exploiter of vulnerable beings as a literal demon in human form, that author is contributing pain, and not healing. That author is writing lies, and not truth.

The Soul Of Escape Fiction Is True Honor

Protecting the weak; defending the innocent; these are the foundational principles of real fantasy. These are the underpinning truths, the “love conquers all” theme that creates an intoxicating flame of adventure in real fiction of this type. Magic, and the idea of a world where our present evils are externalized, and expressed openly in hideous forms, is the bridge over which the eager reader enters into a new world in their hearts. The reader escapes this present world, and comes into a place where evil can be fought, and where pure honor, and true love of peace, are carried openly as banners, and as bonds between like-minded companions.

What Do Pimps Have To Do With Fantasy?

When an author exploits and exposes the gender of expression of their characters, when they deliberately write salacious passages between their characters, and offer this fabricated sexuality to their readers, they are, in essence, lowering themselves to the status of a common procurer, and attempting to degrade the reader into a purchaser and consumer of what amounts to sexual slavery.

This is ugly.

Contemporary Fantasy (Urban), And Aren’t You Being Dramatic? They’re Only Books

Am I being overdramatic? How many of you read fantasy precisely because you want to get into another, cleaner world, a world where the passion in your heart and the values that burn in you can actually bring change to the landscape of reality? Isn’t the fellowship, the honorable bond between the characters in LOTR, and the message that their core friendship was eventually able to overcome great evil, a huge part of the appeal of the series?

When I was a young person, I wholeheartedly sought to escape into books; I pretended to be the characters I read about. When an author pissed all over my independence, and my feelings of sexual autonomy, by manipulating and exposing a character sexually, I felt manipulated and exposed, too. I felt betrayed. The fantasy book that did this became as dark and unpleasant as my real life was at the time.

I was not reading fantasy books in order to encounter a new form of abuse.

Urban fantasy, as a genre, is a way to combine the awful, stark reality that is sometimes real life with the magic and hope of traditional fantasy.

Well, What Do I Do With This Information?

Revisit your manuscript. Are you, as the author, pushing your characters into sexually exploitative scenes because you have heard, or you think you know, that sex sells books?

Are you distorting the honor and internal integrity of your characters so that you can write “like a grown-up”?

You’re Being Awfully Pushy About This

Let us talk for one moment about romance. Everyone knows, who has studied the market, that romance is the biggest-selling genre for books. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find that the books that sell best, and the stories that dominate the market, are about honorable people fighting towards each other with genuine love in their hearts.

Even if you take a book like Twilight, which is very different from Lord of the Rings, you will find characters who, however misguidedly, act from a place of genuine loyalty, fellowship, and love. I personally believe that Twilight exploded the way that it did because it combined buckets of raw lust with a shyness, and a modesty, that was, to innocent minds, utterly intoxicating. The readers could identify with and escape into the main character because, however much Bella was technically abused, she was never exploited.

People can bitch all day about Stephanie Meyer’s success, but I believe that she succeeded because, on a gut level, she honored the sexual and moral autonomy of her characters.

She never betrayed them in the name of sales.

You can write about sex, friendship, and honor without destroying the integrity and innocence of your characters. If you set to, and figure out how to do it consistently, you will make mountains of money.

And if you write with intact morality and autonomous gender in the tradition of epic fantasy, well, readers may soon be revisiting your books just as often as they revisit Tolkien.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. You can read my own honorable fiction here.

How Vulnerability And Humility Get You Places

Stories have to hook into personalization. People want the closeness of the other; we want to feel seen, and to be a person who counts. We want to feel part of a group of people, and we want to feel like we’re winning, ideologically.

Ideological Warfare

People are usually willing to be miserable, lonely, and in pain rather than admit that they have been wrong. Ergo, it is wise, as an author seeking an audience, to be mindful of the pre-existing opinions and world-views of the reader.

But How?

The swiftest way to win is to bypass all higher thought. Hijack the biology of your audience; they are all mammals, and they all have basic psychological needs. If you can scratch that subterranean itch, you will get somewhere.

Okay, What Are The Deep Psychological Needs Of My Reader?

The deepest human need is to be seen; to exist as a valid, discrete entity. Babies go through what I believe is called “mirroring,” where they first identify with the mother, as in, mom and I are one, and then separate, and reflect whatever mom does. This, of course, is a vast overgeneralization, but the point is that many humans have never, on a deep, visceral level, felt joined to and then reflected by a work of fiction. They have not felt seen, or experienced genuine intimacy, on a holistic level, through written words. If they have experienced this kind of closeness, they hunger for it, and search for it.

So Now I’m The Reader’s Mother?

In a psychological sense, and on a practical level, yes, you can address a universal, inner child need within your reader, and then feed in them a deep and lasting hunger for connection to you. It can be done.

That’s Neat; Show Me How

Vulnerability and humility are the starting point; when you expose your genuine self, the selves of others around you (in this case, your potential readers) respond to the energy much as sunflowers turn towards the light, or as a young child turns towards the nurturing entity (the mother, as it were).

Yes, But How?

Imagine yourself in the center of an opaque white curtain; picture it hanging around you in a circle. Now take your hands and hold onto the two edges of the curtain. You’re going to peek out from your genuine self, for two seconds, then you’re going to go back into hiding. Ready? Open a crack in the curtain, and put your face out. Look at the things and people around you. Now, go ahead and hide behind the curtain again.

What About Writing?

When you expose yourself (vulnerability) with humility and respect for yourself and others, your stories become imbued with a sense of danger, of closeness, and of rare intimacy. Next time you sit down to write your book (or your essay, or your poems), take your keyboard or your notebook inside that circular opaque curtain, and write in the space of your genuine self. Your words will become saturated with intimacy and with grace, and your readers will feel strangely compelled to reach out and touch you, with money, or with praise, or with the gift of further attention.

Yourself Is What You Have To Sell

Vulnerability is a skill; humility is a grounded attitude. Gain both, and you will have commodities to offer on the open market.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. You can buy my books here. Have a nice day!

How To Get Your Best Readers

Readers are attracted to like-minded writers. People generally read to relax, and to have their current world-view affirmed and reinforced by cool, exciting folk that live a special, exciting life. This is part of the illusion of escape; readers, many of them, if not all, want to believe in a fairy-like land where a noble author sits at a roaring fireside (or, you know, a minimalist office all in white, depending), and pens exquisite morsels of perfect prose on the first try. Readers want to believe in a heightened extension of whatever kind of world they believe in in the first place. To gain your ideal reader, you must express, coherently, the strongest version of your true self.

Wait, A True Self?!

Your Soul

Every human body is made of energy and matter; your emotions, whatever they may regularly be, are an alchemical product of your individual thoughts, your mental framework, and the physical health of your body and spirit. When I say spirit, I am speaking of the flow of energy that passes daily through your body. All human beings have a unique combination of energy, of emotional cocktails, and of detailed beliefs about “the way the world works,” and “reality.”

What does this have to do with writing?

Writing fiction is the process of performing, with your emotions and spirit, in the vehicle of the written word. Creating fantasy and science fiction worlds relies on a particular, somewhat reliable set of assumptions about morality, reality, and human relationships (and we can talk about that on another day). In order to write your best and strongest work, you need to accentuate what you already are; you need to understand your personal brand.

But How Does One Understand That?

Within yourself, right now, is a surge of potential energy; it is lurking somewhere near the lower half of your spine. If you focus your mind, and imagine this surge of energy, you will get a gradual sense of emotion; that is your branding. When you learn to write down a coherent and consistent trail of that potent sense of self, your readers, like woodland birds, will begin to follow the trail, and to peck at your soul, much as a bird would consume crumbs along a forest path. The goal, in your pursuit of the Ultimate Body of Dedicated Fans, is to so alter your energy management that you can present, openly, a great feast of your soul to all comers. Readers who share, or who are complemented by, your particular emotions and spiritual branding, will flock to this feast, and consume your work.

That Sounds Pretty Macabre

Human relationships are composed of taking, giving, and sharing energy. Predators steal; friends give freely; families, ideally, nurture with strategic gifts of energy. You are ultimately the only one who can cultivate from yourself edible work, in the sense of writing words and stories that other humans can safely and enjoyably read. Think of yourself, and of your body and mind, as a garden that has the potential to bear expensive and rare fruits (for authentic stories told straight from the human spirit are both valuable and rare). Cultivate yourself with the same care and attention that you would give a valuable plot of garden, and when you have isolated within yourself the taste of you, of your unique combination of lived experience and inherent spiritual composition, you will be ready and able to offer your soul in the form of fiction, and that is when you will begin to gain dedicated and loyal readers.

That Sounds Long, Hard, and Complicated. What Can I Do Right Now?

You are already writing the stories that you need to tell; what you need to ask yourself, right this second, is who you are currently allowing to influence (to add to, or to take away from) the true story you form from yourself. Weed out these outside influences, and your abilities will grow faster than you can imagine.

That’s All For Now

You can earn the readers that you dream of when you see yourself as the tree from which your fiction-fruit grows. Nurture your true self; weed out influences from the outside; trust your deep sense of self. When readers find, in your writing, an echo of themselves, they will follow you, and buy your books.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. You can find my tasty books here.

Questions about writing? Need clarification about this post? You can reach me at victorpoole12@gmail.com. Thanks for visiting!

Are Your Stakes Effective? Here’s How To Find Out

Developing a successful story.

Effective stakes require four basic steps:

  1. Your setup includes a lie.
  2. Your main character is trapped by the lie (which can be a character, a culture, or a mindset).
  3. Your main character figures out the truth.
  4. The main character destroys the lie, forcing reality to become truthful and cohesive. (This step generally involves the bulk of the action, and can stretch over many installments.)

In book one of The Eastern Slave Series, Ajalia takes a room in a poor tenement. The old woman who rents out the building turns out to be a significant character later on. When Ajalia fights her off, the stakes are pretty high.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Establish a lie as reality. This is what murder mysteries do when you can’t figure out who did it; every character falls under suspicion, and you know that at least one of them is lying. As Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple perspicacitatiously observe, almost everyone lies; the question is, which lie conceals malignant evil?

In my book, the lie I established was the old woman’s identity as a cunning but harmless landlady with a hoarding problem.

  • Allow your main character to fall into a trap set by the concealed entity. The hidden character from step one wants something; they are dangerous, and will chew up anyone in their way. Invading aliens and bad wizards are great for these traps.
  • Reveal the true nature of the character or situation. This is the moment when your character figures out what has really been going on.

With my story, Ajalia comes within a hair’s-breadth of being destroyed by a potent magical being. She never suspected the old lady of holding any power, until she was face to face with an imminent end.

  • Resolve the conflict. This action usually stretches over the remainder of the book.

Ajalia doesn’t fall victim to the malignant landlady, but this encounter is like a thread that Ajalia pulls at, which eventually unravels a subterranean culture of magical corruption that threatens to swallow her whole.

She begins to come to terms with the fact that she will have to gain greater magical powers, if she is to conquer malicious magical beings.

Then the really exciting stuff starts up.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. Here are some of my awesome books.