Monday, February 14, 2011

And Another Thing I Learned About Writing

from The Da Vinci Code.

6)      People love conspiracy theories

From the assassination of a JFK to Roswell to 9/11 to Free Mason’s to whatever, there are always those who will question the “official version” of major events.  Sometimes these people are right and they expose a lie—think Watergate.  Sometimes they’re just crackpots. Sometimes we’ll never know  one way or the other.

Dan Brown uses questions that were already being asked by others—which led to a copyright lawsuit or two.  He uses them, though, in a novel.  This gives him the ability to say, “It’s just fiction.” 

Is the Catholic Church covering up the truth about Jesus Christ?  And what is that truth?   Was he simply a profit who caught the imagination of the masses?   Was he married and a father?  Is there an unbroken line of descendants who are aware of their heritage, but who keep it secret to keep from bringing down Christianity as we know it?  Is there a Priory of Sion, dedicated to protecting the secret of Christ’s bloodline? 

None of those things need to be true.  Just posing the questions raises controversy.  And controversy begets debate, or the modern day equivalent of debate—shouting at the top of one’s lungs.  Once that starts, interest is piqued and an increase in sales can follow.

I’m not proposing that everyone should make use of conspiracy theories in their books.  Nor that all books need to spark controversy.  But there should be something about them of interest to readers—even a niche market.  There should be something about the book that people love.

When I start writing, I don’t worry about who my market is.  That would paralyze me.   But as it’s nearing the final edits (maybe Draft 4 or 5), I will begin to think about who might want to read this particular book. 
What about your book will people love?  Is it funny?  Heart-warming?  Scary?  Romantic?  Thrilling?  Some combination? 

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