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Fiction Story Not Packing Enough Punch? This is Probably Why

Fiction Story Not Packing Enough Punch? Recognizing the Emotional Void

Have you ever felt like your fiction story is missing something? Perhaps it lacks the epic punch you envisioned, or the emotional resonance falls flat. As a fiction writer, you pour your heart and soul into your work, but sometimes it feels like something crucial is amiss. In this blog post, we'll delve into the common issue of a "fiction story not packing enough punch" and explore how to overcome it.

Against a blue and orange background, a three-tiered pyramid has brown, orange, and yellow levels. The smallest, top, yellow level has black text that reads, "superficial emotions." The second, orange level has black text that reads, "intellectual/psychological emotions," and the bottom, brown tier has black text that reads, "deep, spiritual, soul emotions." Left of the pyramid, white and yellow text reads, "Fiction story not packing enough punch? This is probably why."

Unveiling the Problem: The Importance of Emotional Catharsis

Many authors face the challenge of their stories failing to evoke the desired emotional response from readers. It's not merely about crafting beautiful prose or intricate plots; at its core, storytelling is about eliciting emotions. Without sufficient emotional depth, a story can feel lackluster and fail to resonate with its audience. This is where the concept of catharsis comes into play.

Cracking the Code: Understanding the Three Levels of Emotion

To truly master the art of storytelling, one must understand and harness the power of emotions at three distinct levels: superficial, intellectual, and deep spiritual. Each level contributes to the overall emotional journey of the reader, culminating in catharsis—the ultimate release of emotions. By deliberately weaving these levels into your narrative, you can create a compelling and resonant story that captivates readers from start to finish.

Implementing the Solution: The Three Pillars of Effective Storytelling

Achieving emotional resonance in your fiction requires a strategic approach. Enter the three pillars of effective storytelling: the divine genius, the human template for storytelling, and secret reader triggers. These pillars serve as guiding principles for infusing your narrative with depth, complexity, and emotional richness. By aligning your storytelling with these pillars, you can elevate your craft and create stories that leave a lasting impact on your audience.

Looking Ahead: Transforming Readers and Changing the World

In the realm of fiction writing, storytelling is more than just entertainment—it's a powerful tool for transformation. By crafting cathartic narratives that resonate deeply with readers, fiction authors have the potential to foster empathy, compassion, and resilience in their audience. In doing so, they contribute to a more empathetic and enlightened society. So, as you embark on your writing journey, remember the profound impact your stories can have on the world.

Mastering the art of emotional storytelling is essential for any fiction writer striving to create impactful narratives. By recognizing the three levels of emotion, embracing the pillars of effective storytelling, and harnessing the power of catharsis, you can elevate your craft and forge a deeper connection with your audience. So, go forth and unleash the emotional power of your fiction story—it's time to make a difference, one story at a time.

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Okay, do you ever feel like your story is not epic enough, not aligned enough or not emotional enough? When you let people read it do they just not quite have the emotional reaction you want them to or when you're writing it even if you push through blocking a decision does it sometimes feel like it's just not good enough to you? Like it sounds amateur or you just feel like you could say it better or tell it better or come up with something better, right? Well here's the thing and I honestly think we downplay this a lot in the industry. We always talk about marketing and tactics but we don't talk enough about story and the problems with story.


If you are having any of the problems I just listed while writing your book the problem you're actually having is with a lack of emotion. Specifically you aren't creating enough catharsis with your story. Now I know that you know that a story needs to be emotional to grip your reader.


That's like duh, right? But the reason so many authors don't make many sales, the reason a story might not grip a reader strongly enough or might sound amateur in the writing is generally because the emotion isn't being brought across well enough. And if you want to be a successful fiction author, meaning widely read, highly paid, fiction author famous, all the things you need to be intentional and efficient about making sure your reader feels the emotions of your story. One of the most effective ways to do that is by hitting all the levels of emotion that you can in a story.


So here's the thing, for most people if I tell them a scene isn't emotional enough they'll return to the scene and just you know make someone cry or something. Of course it could also be a sentence structure problem, you know telling rather than showing, you know the drill. But that's not really what I mean either, okay? So how do you ensure that a reader will really love your book and will come back to your series again and again? Many people will tell you there isn't a formula for doing that.


It's all chance, it's all you know honing your craft until things just fall into place and the stars just align. Yeah those people would be wrong. There is a way to ensure that the reader will love your story and will come back to you as an author again and again.


And the way to ensure that is to make sure that your reader feels catharsis and satisfaction in your story. So I'm pretty sure everybody knows what catharsis means, it's a pretty common word in the fiction author world, but just in case let's just make sure that we're all on the same page. What is a catharsis? Catharsis is an intense release of emotions and generally the reader feels this near the end of the story, near the climactic point.


You know we if we're ratcheting up the tension the way that we're supposed to, it comes to a high point which is the climactic scene of the story and then the reader feels the emotion of that. And it usually is considered a release of emotions, right? But that is what makes them like the story. That is what makes them feel satisfaction in the story.


And how do you define satisfaction? It's just them going, wow that was a really cool story, that really spoke to me, right? If they don't feel that then they don't like the story that much. So that's when they start going, yeah it was okay because they didn't really feel it, right? So understanding that means that logically you should be intentionally manufacturing catharsis for your reader. But the question is how to do that? Well again it's not just making a character more emotional in a scene.


It's not just adding in a tragedy to your story. Okay don't get me wrong those things can be great if they really serve your story but they are not what actually manufactures catharsis. So what does? All right everyone listen up.


I'm going to give you the secret that most authors don't know or aren't consciously aware of. What will always manufacture catharsis in your story? What will always give the reader that release of emotions and therefore that satisfaction in the story that will bring them back to you? The answer is change. Really it's a template which is part of the human template for storytelling I'm always talking about.


Where the character fights either for or against something for a long time and the harder they have to fight the better. Make them fight like hell. Then everything what they've been fighting for or against is going to come to a head and at that point we're going to see a change in the character right.


It's your basic story structure but it's that change that will create catharsis every single time. So you see that it's not really about what you write on the page or how I don't know ticked off your characters are or whatever right. Because you could have a beautiful description of how a character weeps over the deceased body of a loved one and it could still be a pretty terrible story right.


It's not about the description it's not about the emotions the characters are feeling. It's about the overall structure and the way the character changes over time. It's about the dynamics of it okay.


More specifically if we don't care about that character's loss if we can't feel their emotions then we aren't invested and we won't have an emotional reaction. Okay so if it's not about the emotions the character feels at any given time or the sentences you're putting on the page then how exactly do we do this? How exactly do we manufacture the catharsis through story? Well there are lots of ways and I'm going to be teaching most of them in my new program Six Figure Stories. But today I'm just going to give you the number one thing you need to keep in mind if you want to manufacture catharsis in your stories.


Here it is ready. You need to intentionally hit all three levels of character emotion. What? Did you even know that there are three levels of emotion that need to be hit? Probably not.


Most authors hit one if that. The more skilled authors hit two and some might dabble in the third but very few authors hit all three and even fewer are doing it intentionally. Okay so what are these three levels? We're going to start with the superficial level.


Yes I mean I did just say superficial there is a superficial emotional level which sounds a little like an oxymoron but I promise it's not. First of all let's just let me just put it out there. I don't mean superficial in a bad way.


Okay superficial in our world it kind of has a connotation for something like fake and I don't mean that at all. I just mean the first surface level. Okay nothing negative about this.


So your superficial emotions are childlike emotions. They're drama emotions and they're emotions due to physical sensations. Okay so let's unpack that a little bit.


Childlike meaning you know a five-year-old their toy gets taken away and it is the worst thing in the world and they cry and sometimes we call those crocodile tears right. So it's just very surface childlike emotions not terribly mature emotions right. By drama emotions I mean teenager drama.


I mean soap opera drama. Just things that again are not terribly deep or perhaps terribly mature but they are still emotions and they sort of appeal to our I don't know I don't know how to say it other than our least mature side but I don't even mean that in a negative way just the opposite of being a super mature adult human being. You know what I mean it's it's part of growing and part of you know our experience as human beings and even as more mature adults we still have these emotions right.


We're talking about when we get involved in maybe family drama or gossip or guilty pleasures of watching soap operas or reading trashy novels you know what people call trashy novels. All of that is superficial emotion and again nothing wrong with it just understand and identify that level of emotion and you do need to be hitting that in your stories in various ways okay. And then there's the emotions that come from physical sensation.


So this is going to be things like adrenaline sex and pain I think are the main ones. Now we all talk about how the you know I think we talk about it most often with sex that sex is an emotion but anything that is a very powerful physical sensation does cause emotions and it is rooted in deeper emotion but we feel it very superficially in the same way that we feel physical pain versus you know emotional or psychological pain. And yes believe it or not pain even very small pain like a child falls and skins his knee what does he do he cries right.


So it does cause emotion but again it's this the surface level of emotions. The second level of emotion is the intellectual or psychological. Now this is going to have more to do with the character journey and the plot okay.


These are thoughts things that are more conscious and middling emotions. So when I was just talking about how you need to be dynamic you need to show the character change their emotions that come from there right. They're more the emotions that you know in terms of your book they're more the emotions that your character is feeling at any given time during the story okay.


They're not necessarily superficial but they're also not the deepest you know most soul-felt emotions they're just day-to-day what different choices you know what they're thinking about things like that okay. So those are the middling emotions and that's where you're going to need to pay more attention to bringing out the emotion of the scene and you know what you're writing on the page to make sure the reader is understanding and experiencing that emotion. Those are kind of your it's probably the emotions most people think about when I say you need to make your scene more emotional right.


Then we have number three and these are the deep spiritual emotions. These are the deepest emotions okay. So these are things like heartache and heartbreak on the more positive side it's things like when you look down at your child and you just can't describe how much you love them and you say I just met this little person you know they were just born and I already know I would die for them.


Those are really deep powerful emotions that come from the soul and from the spirit okay. So that's the third level of emotion. So you see there's the superficial emotions which are child like drama.


Okay so let's recap. We have number one the superficial emotions which are the child like drama rooted excuse me and physical sensations. Then we have number two the intellectual or psychological emotions which has to do with the character journey, the way the character changes, the way the story is dynamic, the middling everyday emotions that sort of thing.


And then the third level the deepest one has to do with the deep spiritual emotions okay. Things that come from the soul and come from the spirit. So now that you understand this the next question I'm sure you have is how do I intentionally hit all of these emotions in my story thereby causing catharsis and making my reader into a super fan.


Unfortunately it's going to be a little bit beyond the scope of this podcast to teach you that. Each one of these has multiple steps and it's going to take a little bit of time to figure out how to hit them in your story. But here's the thing my new program Six Figure Stories basically it has three pillars and if you've listened to me long enough you've probably heard the names of some of them okay.


The three pillars are the divine genius, the human template for storytelling, and secret reader triggers. And these three pillars actually line up with those three levels of emotion that I've been talking about. If you can approach your story from those three levels and make sure to hit all three of them you will have the best written story you could possibly have and you will be light years ahead of most people who are publishing right now and uploading to Amazon okay.


The divine genius method the first one helps you figure out the invisible elements of your story in other words the deeper more spiritual emotions. This applies to theme, character change, character wound and backstory, and pretty much the entire internal character arc okay. The second pillar you might have heard me call the human template for storytelling and it's all about transformational human psychology.


So it will help you harness the framework of the journey every human being takes on earth and it's something that the reader is already very familiar with because they live it themselves every single day. So you see why that would correspond to more of the intellectual and psychological emotions right. And finally there's the secret reader triggers and they are about the superficial emotions.


You're going to use those to get the reader's attention to keep their attention and pull them through the book which is just another way of saying that secret reader triggers are what we use to intentionally create a page turning story okay. Very possible to do not even very hard to do but you have to make sure that you're actively doing it and that you know how. And incidentally we will also use those same secret reader triggers to market the book and it will make it very highly marketable.


It'll make your marketing so easy if you know how to do that okay. And I'm gonna give you one other tip before we wrap up and this is something that is not going to be shocking for anyone who's been listening to me for a while. What do I always say you have to plan first? The internal right.


I really get up on my soapbox about that because so few people plan I mean there's people who don't plan the internal at all and most stories will probably have at least one internal component but it's not being done intentionally right. And my argument is that not only does it need to be done intentionally you need to plan that first and it needs to be the foundation of your story and most people do it backwards and then they can't understand where that why they're not getting very many sales but it leads to and an unemotional un-cathartic and unfocused story if you do it that way okay. So that's why.


So anyway as I was saying you always have to plan the internal and spiritual elements first otherwise your story is like a house with no frame. It's going to cave in. So my final tip to you is to make sure that you plan these in the right order the three levels of emotion start with the internal then move on to the dynamic or psychological and then put on the superficial last okay.


And that's hard to do honestly if you're panting your story 100 you need to have at least a little bit of a plan before you dive in otherwise it's really really hard to hit all those levels of emotion because you're just not focused on doing it intentionally all right. But if you do do that you will have an addictive page turning um easily and highly marketable six-figure story on your hands and without that it's going to be really hard for you to succeed as a fiction writer today with all the competition because most people are writing generic unfocused stories and uploading them to amazon and so if that's all you're writing too you're just going to be one of the masses. But if you really want to succeed you need to up level your storytelling and this is the thing that we're not really talking about that much in the space we talk a lot about marketing we talk about things like hashtags and keywords and um visibility and um you know running ads and email lists and all of those things and none of those are bad things they're all part of your marketing but they are just the strategy.


Real effective book marketing comes at the story level and you should already know exactly how to market your book by the time you're done writing your story. If you don't have that it's going to be really really hard for you to market your book and therefore it's going to be really hard for you to get sales and be very very successful. Okay if you would like more help with this if you want to learn more about how to hit each of these levels of emotion what I'm going to tell you to do is to join my Facebook group.


Okay I'm going to start doing lots of posts and training in there and that's where you're going to have the most access to me so that I can help you along your fiction writing journey. Um I would give you the name but I'm actually about to change the name of the Facebook group so I'm just going to uh link it up in the show notes. Um just go ahead and hop in there and start um introduce yourself start interacting with people and I'm going to actually do a special like my first live stream that I've done in there in a couple of years next week on Wednesday.


So I will put I don't think I have it up yet but I will put a post in there that has the date in the next couple of days. So if you want to be part of that I would highly recommend you join the Facebook group. And just remember guys um writing cathartic stories makes readers more empathic, more compassionate, and more resourceful which is just a fancy way of saying that reading makes you both kinder and smarter.


So by writing really cathartic stories for our readers we can up level humanity and that my friends is how little novelists like us can actually change the world. All right have a wonderful week of writing and I will see you in the Facebook group until next week. Bye guys.

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