|Poor kitty! There's only one way to go. (Source)|
I've been thinking about this since I first read it. It's easy to manipulate readers by setting up the emotions we want them to feel. But is it a good idea? I say NO! (How loudly do you want me to yell? ;-) Readers aren't idiots. They can tell when writers take short cuts to emotions and telegraph what they should feel. It makes your stories forgettable and feeble, in my opinion. I don't like being manipulated by writers and usual quit reading because of the manipulation.
My stories center around deep social and family issues. I could easily fall into the manipulating side of writing, but I truly think the characters of my stories can carry the problems they face and share their trials and triumphs without it.
Traci Borum suggests several ways to avoid manipulation :
- Write the story with truth.
- Stay honest in the moment by being in the moment yourself.
- Don't worry about the reader's reaction.
- Be invested in the characters. Care about them and the readers will too.
- Listen to your gut. If it feels like you're trying too hard, dial it back.
Have you read books that manipulated you?
How did it make you feel?
Do you have any more suggestions for writers?
Next week: Author Interview! What? You were expecting the mini book review? Well, Thanksgiving made me do it. Really! ;-)