Their conclusions have some relevance for fiction writers because they reveal what it is about stories that probably generate word of mouth. This month and next I’m going to discuss these elements and show how you can apply them in your novels.
The first element is one that will be obvious to most of us, so let’s cover it right away. Positive articles are e-mailed more often than negative ones. What does that mean for novelists? It means that excitement is more likely to be stirred by characters with positive qualities and by stories with happy endings.
No big surprise, like I said. If your characters are dark, miserable and self-loathing you can’t expect readers to be enthusiastic. Qualities of strength, especially when we see them right away, inspire readers to care. Downer endings also narrow a novel’s appeal. But you already knew that, right?
The next element identified by researchers is a little harder to appropriate. More frequently e-mailed stories tend to be emotional.
Stop. I know exactly what you’re thinking. All riiight! My novel-in-progress is highly emotional! Best-seller list here I come!
Not so fast. [Read more…]