This is a guest post by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn
Many people want to write a book and maybe you’re one of them. Perhaps you don’t want to write a novel, but these fiction writing techniques can still help you improve your blog.
At its core, fiction is about characters and how they live, who they are and what they go through in the course of a book. If a reader doesn’t care about the character, why should they bother reading on? The same is true of your blog. If readers don’t care about you as the main character, they will go elsewhere. If your content is dry and devoid of personality, people will click away.
You can show character through the use of personal anecdotes about you and your life, either on your blog or through social networks. You can use video or audio to present a more rounded view and incorporate the rich variety of your life to infuse blog with character.
All books have a setting, and so do blogs. In fiction, it might be a faraway planet, ancient Rome or a vampire’s lair that give a sense of place. For blogging, the equivalent is your blog design including use of images, color and theme. This will set the tone for your blog or your book and is just as important for either.
A blog on finding true love is unlikely to have a dark, Gothic theme; a sports blog will probably not be pink and fluffy. Setting and blog design influence how the content is perceived before people even start reading so it’s critical to consider what people experience when they first arrive at your site.
It’s important when writing fiction to consider the genre you are writing in, because the rules and expectations differ widely. Consider romance, science-fiction, and horror. The readers are different. The books sit in different places on bookshelves. It’s the same with blogging. You can try to span multiple areas but you will find your message diluted. Decide on your genre or niche and stick with it. It’s the only way to make an impact.
The plot of a novel is the story that pulls a reader through the book to the climactic finish and leaves them wanting more.
On a small scale, every blog post needs to act this way. You want people to read to the end so try to pull them through with a story or save your best information to the climax. On a larger scale, your blog needs to have a plot that keeps people coming back over time. That can be a posting schedule based on delivering specific information on different days of the week. It can be categories of posts that spark areas of interest, or a series of blog posts that tie a whole subject together. It might also be sharing compelling aspects of your life that function as a plot over time.
Dialogue between characters is critical in bringing a novel to life. It allows us to glimpse the people behind the story and watch interactions between the characters. As a writer, dialogue can sometimes be surprising when your characters behave differently than you expected. You can also give a problem to characters to explore in dialogue and often find your writing issues solved.
Comments on your blog and interactions on your social networks are the dialog between you and your reader. You can use this dialog to glimpse your readers behind the text of your blog and use the information to adjust your content accordingly. You may be surprised at who your readers actually are.
6. Show, don’t tell
This is the cardinal rule of fiction writing. The point is to always demonstrate a character through action or dialogue, rather than exposition. So instead of saying “Jane was kind to animals”, you show Jane rescuing a wild bird from barbed wire, speaking in a calm voice while carefully separating the torn feathers.
In blogging these days, you can use multi-media to show, not tell. For example, if you’re doing a post on how to perform a perfect golf swing, make a video that shows the exact steps instead of writing a text post. That will bring your site to life as well as providing valuable information for your audience. You can also create audio interviews and information on topics that demonstrate your expertise and enable your audience to know, like and trust you.
So embrace your fiction writing skills and improve your blog at the same time! How are your fiction writing skills coming along? Do you use these techniques on your blog?