Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effects for Your Writing

Hello folks,

I feel like I haven’t written a pure “me” post in a while. That happens when your friends suddenly have success I need to internet shout about because I’m excited for them.

Today I will dive back in and do some original writing.

The inspiration for this post comes from something written by Daily Writing Tips—a site I subscribe to that writes, you guessed it, tips for writers. That post listed 15 common effects. I took a few of those, added some of my own, added practical and writing applications for said effects, and now give you what is below.

Enjoy

-Context Effect

This has to do with memory. It is the phenomenon that you will recall information better when you are in the location where you memorized it.

Practical application – Students—if possible, study for tests in the place where you will take them. It could mean the difference between a B+ and an A-.

Writing application – If your character is going to come to a dramatic (or even not-so-dramatic) revelation, he/she would most likely do so in the place where they first learned the information that the revelation is about.

-State Effect (also known as state-dependent recall)

Another memory thing, this means that you will recall information better when affected by the same substances you were when you memorized the information.

Practical application – students—if you study drunk and then take the test drunk, you might just remember more of the answers to the questions. Going to class drunk, however, is not a pass-your-course strategy I would recommend. Drink coffee instead. Caffeine is a substance too.

Writing application – That drug addict main character of yours who has tried and failed to kick the habit for years—make sure he’s under the influence of his addictive substance when he learns something important. Then make sure he’s under the influence when he needs to realize something about what he learned.

-Bystander Effect

I wrote a mock experiment for this one my freshman year of undergrad. This means that the more people who witness an event where help is needed, the less likely any of them are to actually help. Yes, you heard that right. If there’s a bunch of people around and you get mugged, most of those people will keep walking with the mindset “Someone else will help.”

Practical application - Now that you know about this, try to fight it. I won’t suggest to get mugged in a less populated area. The object, really, is not to get mugged at all.

Writing application – The crime doesn’t necessarily need to be committed in a deserted area. Granted, for keeping the guilty party a secret, it helps, but that’s what masks are for, right?

-Domino Effect

When one event causes a subsequent event and then said subsequent event causes another event and so on.

Practical application – When playing with dominos…just kidding. Lying is a good example. Once you start lying, you continue lying to keep the story straight. You can get around this by not lying.

Writing application – Remember kids, events in your book should be causally related. (“Mary, stop with the psychological terminology.”) Okay, events should cause one another. If things aren’t related, the story falls apart.

-Halo Effect

The more attractive something/someone is, the more favorably/better he/she/it will be treated by others.

Practical application – Pretty people get what they want. It’s kind of sad. No, I don’t agree with it, but, unfortunately, that’s the world we’ve created.

Writing application – There’s a reason most heroes/heroines are attractive. They win in the end. Thus, the halo effect is proven. Really, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. We make our good guys attractive, so when they come out ahead no one is surprised. Secret, it’s okay to break this rule.

-Pygmalion Effect

If more is expected of a person, they will perform better.

Practical application – I don’t recommend asking all of your friends to ask the moon of you, but if you can convince yourself that people look up to you, you will perform better.

Writing application – This kind of follows the same principle as the Halo effect—self-fulfilling prophesy in writing. Our main characters have a lot resting on their decisions and actions, so naturally (and because we write it that way) they perform better. But really, how else could it be? If so much wasn’t riding on our characters’ shoulders and they didn’t rise to the challenge, there wouldn’t be a story.

There you have it, some nice effects to think about/apply to life/apply to writing.

Now go feel affected. 

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