*not literally, apart from point 3
If you want people to like what you write, then you need to know what people like. That’s basic maths.* For those of you that struggle to identify human emotions and predilections, here is a list of things that people like. Put them in your stories and watch your popularity soar!
*Yank translation: math.
Most protagonists are a projection of how the writer secretly sees themselves, which is why most protagonists are essentially Jesus. Noble, decent, kind, but hey, don’t push me man or I’ll make a muthafuckin’ whip out of rope and chase sum bitches out of the goddamn temple and don’t think I won’t flip your damn table over, son (Matthew 21:12).
But it’s not just authors with messiah complexes. If you make your protagonist Jesus lite, equally deluded readers will feel a great affinity with him/her. Our hero also gets to eventually sacrifice him/herself for the greater good, thus guaranteeing an emotionally punchy finale.
Other films/books this device would have improved: The Donald Trump biopic (yet to be filmed).
2. Losers Becoming Cool
The reason I know most people think they’re secretly Jesus is because I too think I’m secretly Jesus. But in moments of doubt, when I’m eating old pizza out of the bin or plucking that weird pube-like hair that grows from my cheekbone, I toy with the possibility that I might actually be… a loser.
Most people worry that they’re losers, and that’s why people like reading about losers going from zero to hero. But can your protagonist be both a loser and Jesus? Well, what do you think Jesus was before he was flipping tables and dealing out wisdom? Maybe it’s a coincidence that the Bible ignores Jesus from the age of twelve, at the point when puberty hits, and then rejoins him at thirty, when you’ve just about recovered from puberty. And maybe that pube growing out of my face is super attractive.
Other films/books this device would have improved: The Bible. By including Jesus: The Loser Years, The Bible’s authors would have had more scope for plot and character development, and more opportunity for later misinterpretation by biblical scholars, and exploitation and oppression of the… never mind.
3. Sexual Intercourse
Fact: people (mainly women) enjoy reading about sexual intercourse. Some people don’t even need a plot or rounded characters as long as there is plenty o’ sexual intercourse. Did you also know that erotica in the digital age has stretched the definition of ‘book’ to ‘something the length of a short pamphlet that you can literally write in a day, including a four-hour vodka lunch’?
So, if you’re capable of coming up with plenty of synonyms for ‘boobs’ and ‘dingaling’, maybe consider jumping on the erotica gravy train. Just bear in mind that ‘gravy’ in this instance means ‘liquid shit.’
Other films/books this device would have improved: The Bible.
Magic is fun, and also the best way to get out of a plot corner. Oopsie, my protagonist is greatly outnumbered by the enemy, how is he/she going to get out of th… MAGIC. Kazoom, problem solved, plot allowed to progress.
I mean, maybe it’s a coincidence that Jesus did a few rad tricks with fish and water-walking and resurrecting. And maybe that bin-pizza was super fresh.
Other films/books this device would have improved: Sophie’s Choice.
5. A Talking Dog
Who doesn’t love a talking dog?
Incidentally, the plot of my second book, Madame Magenta and the Arcati Killer, is driven by a talking dog. If you’re really serious about this writing lark, I suggest you READ IT.
Other films/books this device would have improved: my first book, Magenta is the Warmest Colour.
In case it hasn’t been made apparent, Lindsay Sharman‘s hilarious Madame Magenta books are available for purchase. You can buy the first by clicking the picture below: