This article examines how the Eight Crafts and engagers relate.
The Big Idea
An interesting big idea inspires and motivates readers.
An interesting what-if also creates curiosity. What if an astronaut was stranded on Mars?
Narrative produces curiosity through mystery and suspense.
Narrative produces tension through narrative irony. In the case of narrative irony, the reader knows more than the protagonist, which makes for worry/tension (something bad is going to happen) or excitement (something good is about to happen).
Genre produces a subtle curiosity. The reader expects to read a fresh and innovative take on his or her favorite genre.
Genres produce also curiosity through their baked-in story goals.
- Crime: Will the detective catch the culprit?
- Romance: Will the guy get the girl?
- Horror: Will the monster upend the world?
Genres come with baked-in emotional thrills. We read action for the adrenaline, horrors for disgust and fear, thrillers for adrenaline and fear, and erotics for arousal.
Few genres conjure feelings. Among them are romance, love stories, visionary fiction (enlightenment), literary fiction, and existential fiction.
Curiosity and tension need to be designed. We design it with Story Outline by:
- Raising and answering story questions
- Contrasting the protagonist and antagonist/adversity
In addition to that, Story Outline produces excitement by kicking-off the protagonist’s adventure.
Story Outline builds toward satisfaction, which the writer delivers through poetic justice.
Good characterization produces empathy, and empathy produces tension.
Good characterization builds conflict and conflict produces tension and curiosity.
The characterization of the protagonist produces curiosity. How is it to walk in the protagonist’s shoes?
Characterization can produce a sense of wonder and beauty – the wondrous and beautiful description of a character. Example: He was a rich man, banker, merchant, manufacturer, and what not. A big, loud man, with a stare, and a metallic laugh. A man made out of coarse material, which seemed to have been stretched to make so much of him. A man who was always proclaiming, through that brassy speaking-trumpet of a voice of his, his old ignorance and his old poverty. A man who was the bully of humility. – Hard Times by Charles Dickens
World Building produces a sense of wonder and beauty, as well as tension and curiosity through world conflict.
Scene Structure produces tension because each scene has a tension arc.
Scene Structure produces curiosity because every scene raises and answers a question.
Prose neither produces tension, nor curiosity, inspiration and motivation, a sense of wonder and beauty, excitement, and satisfaction. But Prose puts them on the page.
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