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Short Stories: June 22, 2016 Issue [#7709]

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Short Stories

 This week: The Subtle Art of Manipulation
  Edited by: Jay (*still* away for a while)
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Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

This issue:
The Subtle Art of Manipulation

Authors have the responsibility, nay, the authority (grin) to manipulate the reader's emotions.
How do you get your readers invested in your characters and story-- and keep them that way?

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

So, I had a moment the other day while I was working on something, where I was making Incredibly Angry Faces at the computer while I was writing. I warned my partner that I was in an extreme writing mode wherein I could not be held accountable for any of the faces I was making while I was working. *Laugh* I had to tell him not to worry, none of the faces I was making were about him.

And then when he beta-read the piece in question, he stormed into the room, shouted, "Okay I got to the part where you were making all the angry faces!" and stormed away again making his own angry face this time.
*tiny victory lap!*

Getting an emotional response from a reader is exactly why we do this stuff.

The great secret about readers is that they want to be manipulated. They want, no, NEED, to feel things. To get at the core of how you can make this happen, as a writer, you sometimes have to dig in really deep-- into the part of you that involuntarily scowls at the monitor while you're writing. Or maybe the part of you that can't help but cry a little. Or the part of you that can barely get the sentence out, you're laughing so hard.

I have found that for me, the easiest tell that I'm getting the emotional alchemy right is when I'm having very strong-- sometimes almost irrational-- emotional reactions to what I'm writing. I certainly can't expect my readers to react to something that it didn't hurt me even just a little bit to write. Sometimes really deep, buried emotions have a lot of truth, and getting at those truths can provide catharsis or joy or relief or whatever you want to call it for your readers as well.

I'm not saying that you must have a visceral reaction to your own writing. Lots of people don't, necessarily. What I will say is that if you are one of the writers who can-- Chase it. Follow it. Let it lead you where you might otherwise not dare to tread. Uncomfortable territory is where emotional honesty lives.

And emotional honesty is one of the easiest ways to build character relationships with readers. We like feeling effortless empathy towards others-- for most readers, this is one default reason for reading, is keying into a default human concern for others.

Until next time,
Take care and Write on!

Editor's Picks

Picks for this issue!

 Raining on the Inside  [ASR]
Flash Fiction: Caught up in the rat race and deceived.
by Santa

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by A Guest Visitor

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

 Never Leave Me  [13+]
He was all she had left in the world... Written for the SCREAMS!!! contest.
by Kitti

 Edgar Goes to College--275 Words  [ASR]
Edgar finally achieves his dream of a college degree
by Schnujo

Flock of Crows  [18+]
A group of birds is spied. Tangent ensues.
by Than Pence

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Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

Don't forget to support our sponsor!

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Ask & Answer

Feedback from "What Size is Your Story?:

Soh ~ Luminousa writes:
Hi jay,

When I am writing stories, I too, sometimes face the same problem of deciding on the length of the story. I also agree with the fact that the length of the tale depends on the genre and theme. It happened when I was writing a romance genre story set in Scottish Highlands. It became a novella with a little more than 8000 words. However, as I kept proofreading it, I felt it needed that many words to describe the various events in the plot.

I usually have no problem in fixing the number of characters though and if there is any extra character I feel does not get the plot moving or simply takes up space, I remove it. I do enjoy describing the traits and nature of my characters.

This newsletter was a good read. Thanks for writing it and Thanks for featuring my story in your newsletter.

Thank you very much! Yeah, word count will really creep up on you without you realizing it sometimes. And those words can be really important, especially with character count moving up or down. And it was a pleasure to feature your story-- keep writing more of them! *Wink*

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