Are Your Readers On A Diet?

Why is it that most things associated with diets are green? Just saying, if there were some happier colors in there it would be more inspiring.

Whoever said, “Dieting is for the birds,” did not comprehend that a bird eats ten times its weight every day and on a diet you eat about half of that.

If you are a mom, I’m ninety-nine percent sure you’ve had a salad or two to trim up the after baby belly. If you’re not, I’m still pretty sure you’ve tried dieting too.

It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but it is good to eat healthy and take care of our bodies. Starving isn’t a good balance either, but many a bride has tried this to get into her dress.

So, how about your readers? Are they on a diet too?

We put our readers on a diet when we forget to layer the plot to keep them guessing. We strip the extra meat and potatoes off of the plot and offer them a salad. When they finish reading they may enjoy it, but they won’t remember it a year later.

Treat Your Readers To A Full Course Meal!

*Add plot layers. Each story thread like character’s journey to change should be rich with imagery and distinct point of view differences. This also includes the things that make your novel unpredictable, twists and turns.

*Use Peripheral Plotting. Bring in outside events or characters to change the direction of the plot in an unexpected way. Have your character go a different direction because of it.

*Use Metaphor To Add Depth. This is a skill that I learned from My Book Therapy and Rachel Hauck author of The Wedding Dress. This is basically the use of an object in the scene to create a sense of emotion.

For Example: If I wrote a scene about someone feeling alone, I could have something in the scene that showed loneliness, a solitary light bulb, a forgotten toy, a boy who played alone at the park, a single sprout growing up from the ground, etc.

*Build Strong Dialogue. Let your characters say what you have always dreamed about saying. Add humor and personality in the words.

*Create Strong Story World. Use all five senses, use powerful verbs that show emotion in action, add strong wordsmithing, and put us in the scene to create this fabulous world. A great read that illustrates this so well is Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan.

*Add Tension. Have a character goal and obstacles for every scene. Be sure the stakes, or what they have to lose matters to your character and your readers.

*Show the Emotion with Deep Point of View. Dig deeper than the surface layer of telling your character’s emotions, show it in their physical actions, interior dialogue and the use of visual imagery. Susan May Warren just taught an amazing workshop at our local ACFW Chapter MN NICE last weekend on this very thing.

*Create Engaging Secondary Characters. Make sure your cast of characters is diverse and full of color. Tap on your personal experience to create different personality types and let them live on the page.

What do you do as a writer to avoid putting your readers on a diet?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

8 thoughts on “Are Your Readers On A Diet?

  1. Goal, obstacle. Goal, obstacle. Goal, obstacle. That will bring life to your story! Great post…another keeper.

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    Thanks, Pat! Those goals and obstacles are so important, but it is easy to forget them.

  3. Melissa Tagg says:

    Green is one of my favorite colors, so I’m okay with healthy foods being green. Also, I love a good salad – the one at the top of your post looks amazing. My problem is a lot of times I’m too lazy to make a really good salad and instead opt for something fast and not-so-healthy. 🙂

    Really great plot tips! I especially loved the storyworld tip. MBT has helped me soooo much in that area!

  4. Michelle Lim says:

    I like a salad too, from time to time. Glad the plot tips helped.

  5. GREAT blog, Michelle! Really well done!


  6. Michelle Lim says:

    Thanks, Rachel!!! You taught me so much about metaphor and emotions. I really appreciate you!

  7. click here! says:

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here
    regularly. I am quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
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