Write small for a big effect

If I told you that six-thousand people died in an earthquake, how would you feel? Pretty shocked I’m sure.

Have you ever felt numbed to tragedies in the world because you can’t comprehend what is happening on the global scale? That’s the point where you turn the TV off because you feel overloaded with information. When it’s six-thousand people you have no idea what each person suffered.

Make it personal

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The revealing thing about stories

A story is not meant to be understood all at once, that’s what makes a good story so delicious … the slow, tantalising reveal. It’s what we crave as readers.

We start by being plonked into the middle of someone’s life – usually in a crisis situation – and spend the rest of the story finding out how they got there and what they did about it. The lip-smacking part at the end where we discover how their life resolves itself is what we’re aiming for.

But why does the story have the effect that it does on us?

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The eyes have it when it comes to conveying complex mental states

Our facial expressions give away more of what we’re thinking than we thought. New research shows that people’s eyes, in particular, are a dead giveaway.

The function behind a facial expression usually mirrors the person’s emotional state. So if someone is narrowing their eyes as if they are scrutinising something they are likely to be feeling thoughtful; wondering about something. If you feel as though you are being scrutinised then you probably are. Be careful that the other person isn’t just screwing up their eyes against the sun.

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