Why we buy Apple and why characters inspire us

Because that novel isn't going to delay itself
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Why we buy Apple and why characters inspire us

Post by Sophia » May 5th, 2010, 5:52 am

Hello everyone,

This topic was prompted by a TED talk I watched yesterday - How great leaders inspire action. The speaker, Simon Sinek, talked about how companies, individuals and organisations who know and articulate what their values and purpose are, are the ones who often succeed because they draw people to them who believe what they do. He gives examples such as Apple (who we would buy computers, MP3 players and phones from, but we wouldn't consider buying that same range of items from other, equally technically adept computer companies), the Wright brothers and Dr. King.

I was thinking of it in writing terms, as I seem to do with everything. :) I think it applies in three ways: during the marketing, when you're trying to reach a certain type of reader; during the revision, when you're checking to see whether you've included what you need to to hopefully leave the reader feeling what you want them to feel at various points, and when you want to create a character that other characters in the story are inspired to act by.

For the marketing one, I think that if you know why you are writing this particular story, you could say that in your blog, or in interviews. You back it up by saying how you did it - the types of events or characters, perhaps, that you write about. Which leads you to the what, your finished book which acts as the proof of what you believe. All said eloquently and not at all in a sledgehammer-like way. :)

For the revision (or at whatever stage you might do this), you could use it to check that, for example, in a sad scene, you know specifically why the characters are sad. Ask a beta reader if they also know why, and you could see if what they picked up matches your intention. Then show those things in your writing (the how), and then, check the final result (the reader feeling sad) with your beta reader.

Finally, a character who needs to inspire other characters to act could be shown as having a fierce belief. What they do stems from that, and when they're trying to rally others, they try to reach people who share that belief, and inspire those people to act purely because they want to be part of that cause. It would depend on the story and the characters, of course. I can imagine variations on this and how it can be used to show changing loyalties, and the like.

I know this isn't anything new, but I thought the talk put it in quite simple terms and it sparked off some thoughts. The talk is 18 minutes long and quite gripping. I'd love to hear what others think. :)

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