That was the headline on an ad I noticed yesterday. No, I wasn’t on a diet or exercise page. In fact, I was looking at nail polish (see yesterday’s post). But here was a very fit young woman who looked like she worked out for several hours each day, had perfect hair/teeth/skin, and was probably about 23 years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of these things. I’m sure there are plenty of 23 year old perfect bodied women out there, and good on them, right? Right.
Let’s just look at the facts here, people. I am not going to just wake up one day with brand new cellulite-free legs, dentist-straight teeth, wobble-free arms and the energy to run a marathon. So, why do ads like these exist? They’re flat out lies. I’d have to go away for a year and a half, and spend all my money on a personal trainer/dietician/plastic surgeon/genie in a bottle in order to “surprise” my husband with a new body. Although, technically, it doesn’t say “my” new body, just “a” new body, so maybe they’re not really lying (let’s not even go there, though, okay?).
The point is, people know when they’re hearing a lie. They know when they’re reading a lie. It’s a writer’s job to make sure that the reader believes everything they write (whether it’s true or not, I suppose). The best way to do that? Here’s your writing tip coming up:
Always tell the truth when you write.
That’s not to say that you can’t make things up, like the frog in the picture above. Sure, readers know there aren’t really purple frogs. But it’s the author’s job to make readers believe it is the truth. You can make an entire world where purple frogs exist if you can follow through and deliver the bizarre idea. Write characters and plots and settings that are honest, and you’ll have your readers stay not only through the first chapter, but hopefully for an entire series of books. Tell them things they couldn’t possibly get behind, and you’ll lose them. Readers are a fickle bunch.
Would you believe an ad that claims you can surprise your man with a new body? It’s enticing, isn’t it? You want to believe. And it might hook you at first, but once you get into the nitty-gritty of the absurd lies, you’ll be sure to lose faith in it. They can’t follow through on their claim, no matter how many photos or testimonials they might deliver. And no matter how much you might still want to believe, eventually, you’ll be give up on the idea because it just isn’t panning out.
You only have one chance as an author to gain readers. Make it count. Always write the truth, and you won’t be disappointed! That’s your writing tip for Tuesday, folks.