Sunday, May 16, 2010


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


  1. Hi I post over at Magical Words (I'm Emily, or now, pea_faerie overthere). I saw your post on Misty's entry about MFA programs and left a post there today. Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know it was here.

    And, I think your post here on Lost is interesting. I watched the first couple eps and Lost interest. (Hey, it was a great pun when you used it). Now my bf LOVES it, and I'm not allowed to watch it with he and his friends because I have watched it and don't know the backstory and don't appreciate it. I can see the "credibility" points thing in play there, too, and wonder, if I had watched more of it, if I'd have felt the same way you do!

    Good luck with your writing! :)

  2. Hi Emily! Just saw this comment, not sure if you'll see my response or not...

    I've seen you over at Magical Words and am glad you found your way over here! It's nice to know that someone besides family and close friends is reading this thing. :) I had fun with this post, so I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it. I really think this whole credibility points thing can be used in a lot of different applications.

    Anyway, glad to hear from you and I hope you'll keep on coming back!

  3. I am totally with you on the losing interest in Lost. I was talking to Leigh about it yesterday while on the walk...and i just started to not care about the characters wonder you and I are such good friends. :) Glad I am not the only person who just doesn't care abotu Lost. Loving the blog BTW.