I dunno. There's something about her that rubs me the wrong way. Strident? Oh yeah, but it isn't that. And did I happen to mention she screeches? That's a real nerve-grater, for sure, but it isn't that, either. She's just too darned ... how shall I put this? She's too doggoned judgmental! I mean, who made HER the judge of all she sees? Oh. Yeah. (ahem) Never mind.
Anyway, Judge Judy wrote a book with one of the best titles of all time. It's called, Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining. Priceless, isn't it? Or maybe worth, say, sixty-four thousand dollars, anyway.
And the sixty-four thousand dollar question for the day is : HOW do we writers make our readers believe we're tinkling rain??? HOW do we make the implausible plausible, the insurmountable surmountable, and the outrageous the norm? To find the answer, let's take a gander at the gurus of garbage, those writers with unsurpassed skills in turning tripe into something that passes for "truth." I have no names for these people, but believe me, their skills are vast. I'm talking about those nameless instigators who post something on the Internet and then sit back with smirks on their faces, while their post turns viral and essentially morphs from fabrication into fact.
WOW. How can WE harness those skills? I suggest to you ...
Three simple steps:
- Include a smattering of verifiable facts in your writing. It'll demonstrate how smart you are, and establish you as an authority.
- Write with confidence and authority. In fact, if you demonstrate ample confidence and authority, you don't have to concern yourself with facts at all.
- Never be afraid to address hot-button topics. In fact, embrace them, baby. Any segment of society with a strong enough bias about any given topic will gladly believe whatever you tell them, as long as it reinforces the beliefs and hatreds they already harbor. As for facts? Pffffft. Don't need 'em. When readers go all Judge Judy on a topic, they're in danger of developing a serious medical condition known as psychosclerosis. Otherwise known as hardening of the attitude, this is not a fatal condition, but has been known to kill conversations and end relationships. (So, how'd I do with that one? Make your malarkey-o-meter tingle?)
|WOOP! WOOP! WOOP!|
Seems to me, we should all learn, not necessarily to be Judge Judy-ish, but at least to learn to take the things we read with a grain of salt. But oh, what we write, now that's another story. We don't WANT our readers to reach for the salt shaker. We want to spin locations, characters, and stories that are so well-seasoned and believable, no extra salt is ever needed. How can we do that? Let's backtrack to those three steps:
- By all means, weave verifiable facts into your story. Unless you're creating a fantasy world that defies our laws of physics, it's best not to buck science. Two examples where writers tried to do just that: In one book, the good guy electrocuted the bad guy by tossing an old capacitor (that he'd been carrying in his pocket for decades) into the sink while the bad guy was washing his hands. WOOP! WOOP! WOOP! Ain't gonna happen. In the second case, the damsel in distress successfully prevents her pursuers from following her by removing the valve stems from the tires of their car ... and thereby flattening the tires! More WOOP! WOOP!
- Writing with confidence and authority is always a good bet, even if you have to fake it. (Also known as flying with the eagles when we feel like a chicken on the inside.)
- And finally, the hot-button topics. Well, that's up to you. Some excellent books have been written about some of these topics, and they've been written with great sensitivity and intelligence. And I already know that all of you have sensitivity and intelligence out the wazoo, right? Now, I'm no Judge Judy, but if you DO tackle one of these hot potatoes, please rely on verifiable facts, okay?
|After all, too much salt isn't good for anyone.|
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.