“Call me Ishmael.”
It is critically acclaimed the best opening line in the English language. Strangely hypnotic, isn’t it? Although Moby Dick is not necessarily fun to read, those three words capture you in a heartbeat.
To understand, you must imagine something for me (I don’t expect you to do it with your eyes closed, of course):
A stranger walks up to you in the middle of the store: “Hi. It was a dark and stormy night.”
When you read, the author is speaking to you, and vice-versa. And so, in order to keep you interested, he needs to say something that captures their attention, just as a hypnotist does when he speaks face-to-face.
Hypnosis is the art of using certain words or phrases to prompt thoughts or emotions within your client/victim (reader). What do you do when a stranger walks up to you and introduces himself? You instantly give him your undivided attention. That’s how you are conditioned to respond.
While it is unique, introducing yourself by saying “It was a dark and stormy night” doesn’t make you interesting. It’s just revolting. That’s how your readers are conditioned to respond to cliché.
At the same time, saying “My name is Howard” achieves little more. Anyone can say that. At least, anyone who’s name is “Howard.”
This cheap introduction does, however, make the reader pay attention, as you have just introduced yourself. And that is the first step.
Now imagine a strange walking up to you and extending his arm to you, “Call me Ishmael.” It has a different ring to it, doesn’t it? Somehow, it’s more interesting when someone introduces himself that way. I’ll leave it to you to hypothesize why.
Every Hypnotist/Author must be conversational. Hitler, as evil as he was, knew ho to talk. He almost literally hypnotized millions of people. He was trained by a specialist to learn all those hand gestures and vocal inflections that made people know who was boss.
“Conversational Hypnosis” requires experience in three things:
- Body Language
- Speaking effectively
- Listening effectively
While we do not have the luxury of using body language liberally as a tool in our arsenal, it may be used in another, unexpected way. I will get to that later.
Even without body language, the other two tools are more than adequate if used well. If you want to hypnotize your reader, put them in your grasp, make them hang on your every word, you must develop Rapport.
“Rapport is a positive relationship between two individuals based on trust and understanding.” First, you start by saying “Hello,” or “Call me Howard.”
In order to learn effective speaking, you ask the experts, you go to college, you read, read, read. Here on RL, you are learning how to speak well, how to use words in ways that will be interesting and illustrative.
Unfortunately, it’s the only thing that most writers bother learning. With practice, it is enough. But it is not optimal.
So how DO you listen to your reader?
Allow me to take you again to the inner eye: imagine, if you will, two men conversing. You watch them and realize that the other man is so enthralled in the other man’s tail that he doesn’t dare open his mouth. He thinks and he asks questions, but never out loud; the speaker is anticipating the silent man’s thoughts.
In order to achieve this, you must do the following:
- Never interrupt: What makes a dream intereting? Nothing impedes the mind and the dreamer is allowed to run rampant. Readers, like characters, have trains of thought that must be paid close attention to. Do not interrupt it with trivia. Follow it, listen to and respond to it.
- Eliminate distractions: Fancy word-use, challenging metaphors, unusual words and the like are bumps in the road. Only use the unexpected as a plot element or a teaching device.
- Maintain Eye contact: you promise the reader things as you begin your story. Fulfill these promises and never go off on an unsatisfactory tangent. If you change the subject, make sure that the new topic is relevant, but more interesting than the original.
- Show interest in the reader: Allow the reader to think. Let the story follow the thoughts that will inevitably run through the reader's mind, as though you are communing with him/her metaphysically.
You see a long paragraph coming up. The writer is basically saying “Here comes a monologue.”
The next time you go to the library, trying glancing through the pages of a few novels. I’m certain that you have already done this and judged how good the book is by the shape and size of the paragraphs.
People do this regularly: in the first 2 seconds, a stranger is going to decide about 90% of their overall opinion of you. This is due to body language.
Want to impress your reader? Use good body language. Promise someone who’s not going to bore them. There are patterns and shapes within paragraphs that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Study them. Find which one looks best to you, because your most loyal readers are likely the same.
- Don't get caught up in pleasing them: wallowing controversial materials or preaching to the choir with shun your reader. Let them hear what they want to her, but surprise them with what they don't know.
- Filtering: When speaking with someone, some people only hear some of what the other person says, the things that interest them. This is called filtering. You can accidentally do this by paying attention only to what makes the story move in the direction YOU want it to move in. Be careful; you may be orphaning or abandoning the train of thought the reader was on just moments before. You don't want them left behind.
Like Hypnosis, writing is an attempt to steal the reader’s mind. Stephanie Myers managed it with Twilight. Of course, she stuffed all her reader’s heads with cabbage, but she still succeeded.
Get to know your readers. Then steal them in your first two lines.
Show them what a real work of art is.
~ Ryan Fletcher
“Writing is 3% talent and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet.”
No one really knows who said this. I will say, however, that while the proportions are not exact, this man had the general idea;
Anyone in the world who has written the first chapter of his novel is ahead of nine-tenths of the aspiring writers in this world. Anyone who has written their first draft is ahead of 99% of even those.
Why? There's something called discipline, a rare and costly possession that can, nevertheless, be attained by anyone. The cost is time.
Here's an excellent solution:
Stay Focused: A Google Chrome App
marshallvondelini last edited by
Re. app: I think I may have to use that the next time I set foot in a college class. ahaha
Okay, so this is a tribute to that One-of-a-Kind, truly terrible thread that should never have been written. Of course, it is a fond memory to those old enough to remember it. (If anyone has copies of the original posts, please let me know. This thread lives on in infamy, yet I regret to say I have only the second half, starting with the Infamous Post itself)
An Eye-witness account
An account by Sethorion,
(a thoroughly shocked, confused and possibly deranged individual)
I will attempt to re-construct as many of the facts as possible before recounting what little I have of the actual incident, thereby you yourself maybe have veritable hearsay by which to fairly judge the instance for yourself. These events took place in a most remarkable and truly bizzare fashion, as though the beasts of Redwall had been possessed by some foreign power, the likes of which was fiendish and wholly resembled the fictional demon Fenimore Cooper, a crimal being who compels the beasts of his world to act in a most improbable and illogical manner and/or breaks the laws of nature wherever it suits him best.
Whether this was the work of this vile being, or the work of another, you may judge for yourself:
It was a stormy winter's eve (Rainy, for whatever reason) around which the events were molded; The unsuspecting innocents of Redwall had just enjoyed a marvelous tower-jumping contest to see whom was most capable of idiotic feats of mayhem, but only occasionally resulting in near-death or severe/permanent incapacitation. And, having enjoyed themselves greatly, and seeing that the sun was retiring, they entered their great hall and sat to sup.
It was during this period of sweets and joy and joyness that they were all similarly accosted by a series of the most remarkable individuals, the first of which claiming to one called "Captain Hamster." We had nearly recovered ourselves from the inexplicable appearance of such and odd-looking thing, and were nearly ready to forgive his intrusion, that we were shortly visited by three more spirits: the first two were horrifying, demonic beasts called "frogs," speaking in a tongue, none other than our own!
We took no time in condemning them, obviously being demons, but for whatever reason gratified ourselves in not burning them at the stake, but in allowing them to eat custard instead.
We were not permitted a respite from these two new oddities before we were accossted yet again, this time by a wolf speaking in the tongue of something akin to a hoarse toad. I caught the word "Russian," but that was the summation of what I was allowed to hear.
This is when everyone decided to have fun.
First, the "Russian" wolf choose the greater of two evils and instead of merely demanding our Abbey, as was customary, satisfied himself with no less than the entire contents of our Hotroot Soup cauldron, refusing the pleeing Captain Hamster any opportunity to partake, and in conclusion ruined our Hotroot Soup contest.
This made the Hamster oddity quite remarkably angry. Throwing aside his weapon, the hamster grappled to the wolf's leg and proceeded to kick in in the shin, screaming bloody murder and "YOUATEALLTHEHOTROOTYOUGREEDYMONGRELIWANTEDSOMEIDONT
KNOWHOWTOPUNCTUATE!" or something to that effect.
I kid you not.
The demon-toads contented themselves with commenting coolly on the strange events, and then prattled on about their ancestry and fond memories, each much like an old owl.
Upon seeing the defiling of his abbey through the commencing chaos, Abbot Grum promptly leaped upon the table and drew a steaming ladle from it's liquid sheath of poisonously-gross cod-and-apple stew. Wielding this weapon like a madbeast and, quite litterally frothing at the mouth, proceeded to lay into the beasts on all sides of him.
His battlecry was, and I quote: "NO VIOLENCE IN MY ABBEY!"
The Candy Mountain facade was over, and somebeast lost his liver. Not literally, but you get the picture. It was about this time that somebeast by the name of Namaste suggested we liven things up.
The next scene will live on in the memory of those unfortunate enough to behold. Here, I have referred to my friends, the ones at the scene, to finish the tale:
((Here goes: these are the actual posts made afterward. They do not quite compare to what preceeded, but having read my summary I think you'll have a pretty good idea what happened))
okay guys this ismy firstpost so ill post it heere and ur gonna tell me if i do something wrong ok
my characters name is in noob, since i saw u use that name in another place and i thought it was cul ok so noob is a fox with beautiful silvery fir that glistens in the sunlight. o and the very end of each hair is tipped with real gold to make hur look cool and its also how she gets her magic but she doesnt show that to anyone because it makes her feel different and nobody wants to feel different
so a noob was lost in the woods just like in marlfox except different. but shes a good fox that likes to help people. her parents died when she was little because her dad killed her mom but she was out picking flowers so she didnt c it. good rabbits took her in and taught her to use her magic so shes a good fox. ok here it goes
The NOOB walked threw thed oor and swept up to the dias that held the highest table. sorry im late she said throwing aside her cloak her lush fur sparkled in the candlelight.
everyone stopped to look at her. nobody even breathed they were so enchanted at her beauty. she wood have felt awkward if she had noticed but she was so nyeve that she didnt notice because she was razed by bunnies.
Two teenage abbymice came running up to her to take her cloak away, the one she had just taken off, and they lingered for just a few extra moments, staring up at her longingly, hoping for her to give them even just a smile, but she didn't notice.
the russian wolf walked up to her and said asdlkj weoiuan lkjads eous zkjv zhek? and she replied DA! aasfljkd qreou azcou welrjkz touipc.
I hope i m doing this rite. ull tell me if i m not right?
Captain hampster felt jealous so he came up and kicked the wolf. shut up and speak english or go back to russia he said. the wolf drew his sword to cut up the stupid, arrogant hampster. the hampster shouted a challenge. he threw a bread knife down, pinning the wolfs paw to the tableu. to distract him he picked up a bowl of hotroot soup and threw it at the wolf's eyes
if it had worked, the idea was to distract the wolf with a flying bowl of soup, which is not normal, while the evil hampster drew hisk nife and then when the boiling hotroot soup hit the wolf's eyes they would burn and he would be blind while the hampster killed the wolf. but that wasn't want happened.
Oh dear me said The NOOB, this is not good. The soup stopped in mid air, little drops hovering in space. everyone watches as she uses her mind powers to put the soup back in the bowl and set it back down in front of the nice badger who the hampster had taken it from. the badger quickly sent a text to his friend that he had to come up from the basement to see this.
as the wolf tried to swing its sword, The NOOB flourished her paw and their weapons went flying up in the air including the knife that the wolf had forgotten was in his paw. the knifes hovered at least sixty feet above them where nobody would be able to reach them unless they were a bird and birds wouldn't use weapons like that.
She spoke to the wolf zouakdf qouclkg owuckh alskdrhe (which means let me fix your paw) he rubbed it in her paws, massaging it and touching him tenderly. there was no pain and the bleeding stopped. even the blood on the table disappeared and everyone knew that a powerful and beautiful sourcerous had arrived at the feast.
one of the mice came up to her again trying to flirt with her. do you want some soup he said
oh no. i never eat. i never get hungry. but thank you, ur so sweet.
and the mouse fainted with sheer happiness.
wow that was fun i will post again soon. here is my number 429 115-3255 somebody text me when you post after me. i m grounded right now so its SOOOO SO SO SO SO boring.
more glibly than she would have said if she'd know all the bad things that were about to happen
ooc- Sheesh guys, i was kidding.
OOC: Bozhe moy!
BIC: Maire [a mousemaid] (on long bench in the corner with a few little girlfriends, dipping burdock crackers from a cloth-covered basket into a large, communal bowl of hotroot stew, they considered it fit as a dip but not to guzzle…they stare in horror, frozen to their seats at the commotion) : "And I thought this was going to be the Winter of Peace!"
Ooc// okay, I agree, we need a clean up. O.o
Ooc- Hehehehehe, um… aha, do you think we should, um, clean this up or leave it as just some sort of example of what RPers should never do?! (Hehehe)
ooc - mass hallucination?
((Maybe someone put in some sleep-inducing berries into each plate of food? LOL And they all had the same hallucination?))
Wow. I almost died laughing…... I have reason to believe that that was a joke. First, who would be stupid enough to give out their phone number on a public site? That number has 911 at the beginning. Plus, he broke every rule of fiction. And finally, he broke every rule in the book except for the major ones. Ordova...... if this is a joke, then you must be very good to pull that one off..... chuckles If not, then you need to read the site rules. wink
Ooc: Can we just get back to the story.
Ic: As the feast was beginning to disintegrate into utter chaos, Mallik, being an old friend of the abbot and his long-time helper, stepped in. "Can we please stop this nonsense, and get back to the feast?" Meanwhile, Otto and Othello had sat down and were quietly making conversation with Twinkle. "So how long have you been here at the Abbey?" inquired Otto.
Ooc- love to, but I have to talk to the other admins about cleaning it up. We can't let the thread stay this way. We had a rabid Abbot for goodness sakes. In the meantime, just have fun with the thread. We'll clean it up and delete posts later.
Bic- Raun, the ancient otter on the far end of one of the tables also pulled out a cell phone and shot a friend of his a text message:
"hey bro dat was du shiznit! did u see how that wolf poned them dawgs?
A moment later, Rosen sent one back. "no kiddin but that abbot looks fit to ice em both"
Ooc- Sorry, couldn't help it.
that's awful.. Rabid Abbot sounds like a punk band, someone will steal that name some day.
It'll be like Austrian Owl Rock or something, only with Redwall critters.
"That's quite a skit they put on there", she remarked with relief as the mob exited stage right. "And I thought it was real!"
OOC: Is it being wiped or salvaged?
OOC- I think we were just asking for it when nobody cleaned it up. Frawg Luvah, frogs are supposed to be vermin. They don't talk, and nobody would let a wolf and a couple of frogs into redwall. That may have to go under some probation. I am not seth, so I don't have the final say, but that is just the way it is.
IC- Twinkle came into Great hall, wheeling a trolley laden with grayling sauteed in butter and mixed with veggies. Setting it if front of the now seated abbot, he gestured with a wave of his paw. "Taste up Father. Every beast is waiting." He gave a friendly wink and went back into the kitchen. He would be eating in a few minutes.
_ And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen; the worst, funniest, and most regrettably deleted thread phenomenon in history…
7Bowbeast7 last edited by
Thanks for the link to that google chrome time wasting app, i think i might actually concentrate when i get on my laptop for homework…
Guest last edited by
OMG! That was soooo retarded and soooo funny!!!!!
Thank you Vargon, XD It makes me happy that someone read it.
Quick Update: I'm still living, breathing and writing. I'm sad I haven't been able to RP, I miss the site, you guys still rock and the new admins seem to be doing an awesome job.
Finally, I'm still moving forward. I wish I could report "I've finished two drafts!" or something like that, but I'm on chapter four. I'm finding that, the better I get, the longer it takes to write.
At least what I've written so far is pretty good.
Again, I miss you guys. I'll pop in and say hi again sometime soon.
Kaden last edited by
1. Glad to see you're still alive and writing too, Seth. : )
2. Reading that horrendous…whatever it was just made my day haha!
Guest last edited by
What on earth possessed Namaste to write that? And was Ordova really serious? I mean, who on earth thinks "noob" is a good name? I can't stop laughing every time I read this! this "Noob" seems like every possible Mary Sue aspect in existence packed into one beast!
Ordova was very talented at very bad writing. Lets just say that, lol.
I actually know the guy personally. It's been… what, three years? lol, I think I can spill the beans: Basically it was a highly experienced writer with loads of RPing experience under his belt. We were begging him to join up on the site, so he showed up long enough to make just one really classic post, hahaha