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Writing Fiction: What's the Point? Part Four


To inject drama (and create vacuums) into any situation, polarise things: split poles apart, separate them with space and barriers, prevent nuances, block communication.

Conversely, to remove drama (and vacuums) from any situation, depolarise: move poles together, remove space and barriers, encourage nuances, empower communication.

This applies fictively, in marketing, in Life, in health, in relationships, in politics etc.

More specifically, it applies to what we have been talking about: getting a prospective reader to move into a state of thinking in which he or she is more likely to pick up and start reading your book.

This is what we call the Focusing Protocol.

Your prospective reader is someone who you want to feel at ease in the vicinity of your work; you want them to move closer to it, feel associated with it in some way, and finally to communicate with it. That means depolarising the general situation around your work, the way it is presented, its context.

But your prospective reader is also someone who you want to feel attracted by your book specifically, enticed by it, intrigued by it enough to pick it out of the general context and start reading it. That means polarising the specific zone around your work, the way it is packaged, its appearance, to create a vacuum strong enough to attract attention.

Think of this in the terms that we have laid out earlier: you have an audience of warm prospects in the social media group you have created based around the general topic of your book. If you write historical romances, for example, then building up a group of people already interested in historical romances generally is a definite move in the right direction — you have effectively ‘domesticated’ a group of potential readers and can cultivate them constantly by feeding them things of great interest and value to them. This is depolarising the general scene: these people are now in the vicinity of your work; you have moved them closer to it and none of them should be surprised if the name of your book arises in this context.

Then the emphasis falls upon your book specifically: its cover must be enticing precisely to that kind of audience — i.e. it must contain the images that they expect to be there, blended with subtle differences that create vacuums and thus evoke interest; its blurb must be intriguing (and short) enough for them to pause for a moment to read it. That means polarising the specific zone around your work, the way it is packaged, its appearance so that the created vacuums draw in the prospect’s attention.

Note how conventional marketing gets this wrong: there is a huge amount of effort on creating vacuums to attract attention, but they are largely wasted on a general audience, which is too far away from the product to care. The initial depolarisation hasn’t been done; the type of reader you want to read your book is still way out there, unaware of you or your work.

That’s why you have to attract generally and then attract specifically.

More on this soon.

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