Psychology has given us such a wonderful understanding into human behaviour that’s it’s a veritable gold-mine for writers. It not only lets us understand our characters on a deeper level, but also our readers. Those fellow humans — that we’re asking to trade their money and their time in return for consuming our words — have picked up your book for a reason. And whether its romance like the ones I write, a thriller or a prehistoric space fantasy, they’re looking for something. Six certain ‘somethings’. As a writer, if you have these six factors present then you’ve built a solid foundation for a book they won’t put down. How do I know? Because psychology says so.
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1. A character we’re drawn to
This can be easier said than done, but it’s vitally important. Humans are wired to connect. From mirror neurons, to the ability to feel empathy, to the dose of dopamine and rush of oxytocin we feel when we connect with another human being. It’s been woven into our wiring because once we developed as social beings then amazing things happened. We built villages and cities, sanitation and hospitals, cars and Boeing 747’s.
So your reader needs to be drawn to your character. The key words here are ‘drawn to’. They don’t have to like them, there’s lots of characters we don’t like. But we have to respect them…and be fascinated by them.
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5. Something to capture their curiosity
What’s going to capture their curiosity? Questions.
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Curiosity is what’s going to keep that magical chemical concoction swimming around your readers’ brains and ultimately keep them reading. This means your books needs to be driven by questions. The big question – such as will Frodo get to Mount Doom? But also all the little interesting questions along the way – like will Strider take the throne? Will loyal Sam have his happy ever after? What is twisted, sad Golum’s karma?
Link to the rest at PsychWriter