I've been thinking a lot recently about how you make a connection with your audience. It started with a conversation about Lost. I started out really liking the series, but eventually lost the connection with the story and the characters. Meanwhile, Adam loves Lost. He was very upset when I tired of it because it meant he had to find time to watch the show alone. (His brother has been coerced into watching the series finale here at our house so that he can share it "with someone who will appreciate it").
But what was it that Lost me? (Sorry, bad pun intended.) The plot was intelligent, well researched and carefully designed. The characters were well-developed, each having a distinct back-story. Each episode was exciting, almost always revealing new information, but never quite answering your questions. With all it had going for it, why did I fall off the bandwagon? Better yet, how do I keep from losing my own audience, once I have one?
Magical Words, one of the blogs that I read every day, had a very timely post by a guest blogger, Carrie Ryan. In it, she describes her theory about how every story has a certain number of credibility points that are spent whenever you ask the reader to suspend their disbelief. Just by picking up a book, the reader is agreeing to suspend their disbelief, but only to a point. Certain genres will start out with a higher number of points automatically, because the reader knows that the subject requires it, but the author is still limited to that point value.
I would actually take this a step further, to say that it's not the book or the genre that dictates the point value; rather the reader is granting the author the credibility points. The reader is participating in the story by suspending their disbelief. Each reader has a different starting value, but no matter what, once the points are gone, the reader loses interest and puts the book down or the audience stops watching.
Going back to Lost, guess when I started to lose interest? It was right around the time the smoke monster made a significant appearance on the island. My points were spent.
Novel Word Count: 24,384