Writing Fiction: What's the Point? Part One
What’s the point of writing fiction?
If you said to create an effect on people, you’d be right. That’s the ultimate goal. No arguments there. But what kind of effect?
Broadly speaking, your fiction can seek to uplift and extrovert a reader in some way (with epic or comic adventures), or it can seek to depress and introvert (through tragedy and irony). Either goal is a valid goal of a writer as an artist, and of course the nuances of these broad effects are virtually limitless — as a writer, you can create any combination of ups and downs you wish, if you are in command of your tools.
However, there’s a problem: as a writer, you can only create an effect on people if you’re able to reach them emotionally. If you want to create an effect on someone, you have to put them into that peculiar condition known as a ‘reading trance’. You have to bypass their conscious critical mind, the mind that looks around at the environment and assesses things analytically all the time, and make contact with another kind of mind, because that’s where the power to create effects resides. And the only way you can do that is by attracting their attention more than the world around them.
That’s a particularly useful skill to have. Most people think things through consciously all the time; simply putting a book in front of them is no guarantee of attracting their attention, let alone any emotional commitment. In most cases, bombarding a person with news of your new book yields only resistance, at least during the initial phases.
As a writer, you might already know lots of techniques you can use to attract attention. They take time. Ideally you need something that’s faster, more reliable, effective and easy to use. Something like the Focusing Protocol.
We’ll take a detailed look at all 4 components that make up the Focusing Protocol shortly. But first, what’s the point of using it in the first place?
Having someone read your book means putting them into a trance to some degree. This isn’t a trance in which you are ‘controlling’ another person against their will — it’s a condition into which they should enter very willingly. You’re not trying to trick or deceive anyone — quite the reverse. Through your fiction, you’re trying to bring them experiences that you know they will love and which they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
And the way to put someone into a reading trance is by using some type of induction.
Please note that this will only work if you apply it to ‘warm prospects’ — i.e. people who are already vaguely interested in the general subject or genre of your book. How to gather an audience of warm prospects together is explained in detail elsewhere in this blog. But, assuming that you have such an audience, how exactly do you get them to look at your specific book?
The Focusing Protocol is essentially a method for inducing a reading trance. There are a couple of reasons why it’s particularly effective at doing that:
1. it absorbs attention, bypasses the person's awareness of their environment, stimulates the imagination and leads the person to a desired outcome, a change or transformation.
2. It causes analytic/imaginative dissociation. This breaks down resistance so the reader’s imagination can take over.
We’ll examine it in more detail over the course of this series.