Month: December 2014

Creating Believers Can Lead to Bestsellers in Any Season

With another Christmas over, I sit staring up at the tree, dreading taking it down in a few days. Especially since it will likely be the last year my oldest believes in Santa. And once one falls off the Polar Express, the other will be sure to follow. But there is one glimmer of hope standing between my family and years of jaded, predictable, cheerless yules.

Elf on the ShelfWhen my daughter was three, we introduced a new family tradition and welcomed our very own Elf, which we named Jingle Frosty-bottom. Morning after morning through Christmas eve, she would race to find where the mischievous elf was hiding—in the branches of the Christmas tree, at the end of a long trail of candy wrappers, or on the proverbial shelf watching out for naughty behavior. She still jumped out of bed to look for Jingle this year at nine-years-old, despite the fact that our Elf on the Shelf is more kitschy that realistic.

So what would make a kid raised with 3D computer animation think this stuffed bit of felt and plastic that can’t even sit up on its own is real? Hint: it’s the same reason kids and adults alike waited in bookstores until midnight for each new Harry Potter release. (more…)

Using Chain Reactions in Novel Plotting: The Perception Effect

Books Falling Like Dominoes

I heard an anecdote by an Amish farmer at a conference last week that instantly made me think of novel plotting. While not the goal of his presentation, it certainly inspired this writer’s imagination and made me consider how I could apply such subtle chain reactions to Amish Wavingmy writing.

A local citizen outside of the Amish community recently complained to the speaker that the Amish aren’t as friendly as they once were. The drivers in their buggies don’t even wave anymore when they pass. Relieved to hear the reason, the farmer quickly set his acquaintance straight. The local Amish no longer wave to Ohio motorists as a safety precaution. So many drivers are talking on their cell phones or into earpieces that the Amish are afraid to become another distraction. A sudden movement , such as a hand wave, in a distracted driver’s peripheral vision could result in their car wrapped around a tree.

Now, some of you may think this Amish community is being a tad over-cautious, particularly if you’re one of the multi-taskers the farmer referred to, but safety statistics aren’t important. I’m not concerned with facts no matter how well documented. Perception is the key here. Regardless of whether it is sensible, perception drives people’s choices in reality and novels. (more…)