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Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black globs on white paper

You have probably heard variations of the 7-38-55 rule. Effective communications is 7% verbal, 38% vocal signals and 55% body language.

Well what about our little ole’ black globs of ink on white paper?

Print isn’t as good as verbal because we can’t literally hear print. So, let’s cut print communication down to 5% (at best) and suggest, for writers, that they need to develop the other 95% using words to describe a mix of body language, verbal signals, emotions and action and never, never simply tell the story from the beginning (mix in a lot of show).or you'll never get off the ground. How can you show the other 95% given a 5% medium? You can’t. At least not immediately. You’ll need a stranger’s imagination and cooperation to start with. And.

Picture this: a stranger calls you and says blah, blah, blah. You don’t know where he/she is coming from. You might even hang-up the phone (as in closing the book forever) or suppose you get junk mail (worse). Compare that to your best friend: she calls you and you practically breathe in each other’s intent. You have a history.

Assume you are writing to a stranger and aren’t 99.9% of your readers, strangers in the beginning?
You know they’re about to (hang up the phone), i.e. close the book. I guarentee it. Put your foot in that door, point down at your new shoes, tell them how your sweetheart has just jilted you, show them your pain. Hand them your soul.

Do those things recommended for all fiction, start with a change that any stranger would empathize with.

You’ve done your job, now you write the second book in a series and suddenly there are readers out there that already identify with your characters. They’re pre-sold. They’ll buy because your characters are like their friends, the reader can breathe in their intent but you still need to write for the new strangers.

As an example, at Christmas time, we hear so many songs, classics and the not so good. Once in a while, somebody adds to the classics with a song strait from the heart. It immediately catches with us strangers. We’re friends now, because we want the same thing. We want to know she'll get her wish.

“All I Want for Christmas is You," by Mariah Carey, 1994
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year and oh by the way, all I want for Christmas is for you to be happy.


  1. Interesting idea.But I don't know if I'm clever enough to tell a story with only 5% words.Or did I misunderstand? Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. Hi Phyllis,

    No, I meant 100% words, 5% effectiveness in communicating. Thanks, I've just made that more clear. BTW, you, as far as i can tell, are doing every thing right. You don't need my idea!