How’s it going for you so far this week? When I was in Missouri a couple weeks ago, I met up with some friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time, which was nice. We went out to do some shopping at a mall I’d never been to (and took a few wrong turns down half-finished roads a couple times).
After walking and shopping some (not all together–the guys didn’t want to go into Forever 21), we decided to get something to eat. We took a few wrong turns there too, because we didn’t know the area, it was after 4 in the afternoon, and we had no idea what kind of food we wanted to eat.
So we went to a pub.
We got all excited about the prices on the menu on the wall–until we realized that those prices were from the vintage menu–from 1961.
Anyway, we got to our table and sat down. After a bit of a wait, we got served and one of the guys said “I think she was judging me,” meaning the waitress. I guess she looked at him sideways or what-have-ya. She did seem a tad disinterested.
That is, until my buddy ordered booze and she saw that he was from Minnesota–a long way from home, for sure.
Just a small thing cracked things wide open. Turns out she’d been there all day and had only served about 7 or 8 tables her entire shift. Which also explains why there was almost nobody in our leg of tables in the restaurant.
She started to open up and tell us where she was from (Florida), how that after boating season things slowed down for the place, and that the only pizza she liked that her workplace served was actually the one we ordered (the alfredo chicken pizza, for lack of a better description).
I was reminded of a few things I’ve discovered…
People (and characters in stories, and prospects) have problems. Those problems are more important to them than just about anything there is–including you, your opinions if they don’t know you, and lots of other things. Especially if the problem is right in front of them.
If you’re a copywriter or fiction writer, you have to know those problems so you can solve them–either with a product you’re promoting to help people lead better lives, or through the course of a fiction story. Problems can create conflict to shake things up. As people, we like to have closure, if at all possible. Seeing that conflict through because we hope the problems will be solved can keep readers reading because they have to find out what happens.
Remember that. I know I need to do more, too.
Because some problems, fictional or otherwise, can’t be solved easily–not even with a $15 tip to a Missouri waitress hailing from Florida.
Until next time,
P.S. Today is the final day of the free promo for my book The Writer’s Key: 50 Prompts and Other Strategies to Jumpstart Your Fiction.
Each prompt has at least two examples from your not-so-dear blog runner about how I would flesh things out.
The intro gives good groundwork for how to use one idea to come up with several if you need to (or want to).
You can have a new idea in one minute or less–all you have to do is scroll to a page and go.
Get yours over this way: