What do Neurology, Psychology, and Forensics have in common?
Sounds like the start of a bad joke right? Don’t worry, I’ll explain how these 3 things can help improve your writing and make it come to life.
Neurology – how the brain experiences things.
Psychology – how the personality experiences things.
Forensics – how the facts fit together.
It’s about layers.
Vanilla sponge: You start with the facts, you need to put them in an way that makes sense – subject, breakdown in logical order, conclusion = flow.
Cream filling: You want it to go into the readers brain, to make it past the surface boredom barrier and into the filing cabinet of information retained for future use.
Chocolate frosting: Coupled with making a connection and having an impact so that information stays there and resurfaces regularly.
Let me put it another way – a way you’ll recognize – you want your writing to be in your voice (psychology), be remembered (neurology), and give value (forensics).
So how to use it…
Begin with all the facts, data, and information you can relating to your topic. Put it in order of appearance. It needs to flow naturally from one section to the next.
Use story, or at least the pattern of story to improve your writing’s chances of getting past the boredom barrier. It’s the pattern the brain recognizes not the fact you said ‘Once upon a time there was a little girl who liked snowmen.’
The pattern is simple and easy to use: The intro/good thing – the struggle – getting over the struggle – the successful outcome.
You can use actual stories that follow the pattern to help people remember specific details – and these bits don’t even have to be about the reader, well they do but in a slightly different way. The reader isn’t only selfish, they’re nosy too, so tell a good story that maybe makes it appear like you did something a bit naive or dumb, (that they know they never would do – but could at some point and won’t admit to anyone except themselves) and show how you got out of it to find success doing the thing you’re talking about.
Then using your voice give it emotion and feelings. The connection to your reader on the psychological level. This is about behavior and attitude. A little more of the group mind theory. The type of people you want in your tribe so to speak. Use the words they would use, references to thing they would understand, inside jokes (that aren’t really that inside but you’d have to watch a specific program or listen to a specific podcast to understand). You aren’t trying to alienate people, rather you are trying to bind them together. Make them feel part of a collective. Something comfortable and yet useful at the same time.
Despite all the talk about comfort zones and stepping out of them you’re trying to get your readers to step into one. Because once in a comfort zone it’s hard to get out.
A comfort zone gives regular, routine, habits. It doesn’t always feel good, and it isn’t always nice, but it’s comfortable enough you don’t want to leave.
Your job is to make it comfortable enough for them to want to stay, interesting enough to keep them involved, and actively engaging within that zone. And maintain it.
Punchline: They’re the most bad-ass threesome that’ll ever happen on the page!
Sign up for more really bad jokes (and the mailing list) and learn how you can improve your writing using science and music.