Friday, April 22, 2011
Make It Familiar To The Reader
Yesterday we talked about getting the weapons right. Today let's talk about adding little things into the story that a reader can instantly identify and feel comfortable knowing they are there.
I have two characters named Turner Hahn and Frank Morales. Homicide detectives. One of them, Turner, fell into a pot load of money from an inheritance. So he indulges in his hobby of buying old American made muscle cars and rebuilding them himself.
His favorite is a '67 Shelby Mustang 350.
But he has others. And throughout the novel(s) he and his partner exchange rides and drive a different car. The cars, predictably, become magnets to a lot of readers and keep them involved with the story. I planned this from the beginning. I knew this would happen--and sure enough, from the comments I've heard from a few who have read the stories, the muscle cars do exactly what I thought they would.
Readers identify themselves with the cars. They've had one in their past; their father or mother had one. A friend had one when he was a teenager and they had balls of fun with it.
What it does is rekindle old memories. Past times.
And rekindling old memories make the cars become magnets. Or, more likely, sticks of glue. They stick the reader into the story and make it more personal. Which is, frankly, what a good writer should endeavor to do. Not just write a story. But write a story and make it personal. Make it 'his' or 'her' story. 'Cause I gotta tell'ya; make a story personal and you've hooked that reader for life. They'll come back over and over again to read more of your stuff.