1. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    Whats the best way to plant an idea in your reader through a short story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by johngalt1991, Jul 4, 2011.

    I am curious how can you plant an idea in a story so that you can make your reader want something very specific. Whats the best way to get this message across to the reader?

    does it help to know what your target market is? and do certain audiences respond to different types of storytelling?

    are there any salespersons on this site who have used storytelling to sell products? if so please give me any advice.

    I know this can be done, and very effectively.
    I can only remember this being done with novels, although i know it can be done on smaller scale, just like in fables.

    is there a formula or a certain order the ideas must be presented to make it work.

    any examples if good short stories that do this well would be appreciated.
     
  2. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I'm wondering what the purpose of making your audience want something is? What is it exactly you want to make them want?

    You speak of salespersons and target markets and formulas as well. That is no way to write a story. A story is all about imagination, enjoyment, experience and thoughtfulness, not some cold calculated mechanism designed to make me want something.

    As for using story telling to sell products, well...
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I saw your locked thread and I have to admit that, paired with this post, I'm concerned. You're not seriously asking us for advice on how to make women want to strip online are you? Because I have to tell you, I want no parts of that. Further, I have to tell you that there are women who will and women who won't and no amount of storytelling is going to change their views. Apologies if that's not what this is about, but it's a curious set of circumstances - at best.
     
  4. flipflop
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    flipflop Senior Member

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    lol i just had to post this is hysterical

    i believe what you are looking for is subliminal messages and has no scientific backing what so ever you would be better off with tarot cards
     
  5. Alex W
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    Alex W Contributing Member

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    I like his thinking.

    "And so, that was a lovely story about the rise and fall of the mongolian empire. Now that that's done, can I see some tits up in this mother******?" (Yes, I censored myself, why I don't know)

    Ahh. What a flawless plan he has come up with. 5 star thinking.
     
  6. Mortified Penguin
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    Mortified Penguin New Member

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    This topic reminds me of Inception.

    If you want a reader to want something very specific, just make it sound really appetizing. Like Taco Bell does for their commercials, which play way too late at night.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you know? Examples?

    ChickenFreak
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Isn't subliminal messaging, like, illegal now?

    I remember Myth Busters or something did an episode on it, and I responded to one that was "go eat a carrot". :s
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there is no 'best'... no 'order' and no 'formula' for such things...

    all that it takes is talent and skill... in other words, 'good writing'!
     
  10. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    Clive Barker makes me want to throw up or sleep with the light on. Does that help?
     
  11. Vespers
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    Vespers Member

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    Inception. It has to be a simple idea though, nothing complicated, or else it won't hold.
     
  12. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    *Facepalm* Quoting a fictional theory from a fictional film doesn't work. While it could very well be found to be true (the theory), it's not supported by anything other than the research of Christopher Nolan and anyone else who worked on it.

    Even a complicated idea could stick. There's nothing to say it wouldn't.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know lots of authors who make me want to give up and read some other author. That's probably the easiest idea of all to put into readers' minds.
     
  14. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    its like the movie inception which was a big joke about marketing.
    how to do this with writing in stories?
    mammamaia was on the right track, its done with good writing.

    but there is a formula to good writing.

    Lets say you know exactly what your target market is, would it help to make your main character as close to the norm for that group as possible?

    wouldn't that help the reader connect with the hero and want to make the same decisions in real life?

    what are some universal truths for the different markets?
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm still confused. Are you trying to write a story about someone that tries to do this? Or are you actually trying to do this yourself?

    I'm sure that a story _about_ this would be perfectly entertaining. It's if you, yourself, are actually trying to secretly influence/brainwash someone through your story, that I become extremely doubtful.

    Now, if you're talking about plain old persuasion, like trying to persuade people of some political or philosophical idea, you could research topics about debate, politics, writing persuasive essays, and so on.

    It sounds like you're talking about an advertising pitch instead? I have trouble imagining a single advertising pitch that people would be willing to read, that would do this job. Advertising is usually pretty obvious _as_ advertising. But there are basic advertising techniques that have been used forever - you could research those.

    But if you're talking about some story that I will read and then look up and say, "Of course! What a fool I've been! I _must_ run out and buy a gallon of 3-in-1 Oil!", I don't see that happening.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    i am actually trying to incorporate these ideas into my story, i will let the forum write a story about this topic.

    If you agree that writing can change political views from conservative to democrat and vice versa, then why cant you use the same techniques to convince people to drink coke over pepsi.

    The next step is doing it without the reader knowing your trying to change their minds, by getting them to hear the persuasive arguments that have been embedded into the story.

    then finally editing until you have maximized it effectiveness.

    i will look in to persuasive writing, and i have done lots of research into marketing but it looks like i have to do a lot more.
     
  17. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Sounds like something you'd have to rely on metaphors and allegories for, if you're not just going to come on out and say it. Taking the politics example, there are plenty of novels that lampoon or promote various ideologies - Atlas Shrugged (John Galt, lol) & 1984 being what comes to mind. But the political and philosophical undertones aren't so obfuscated that the reader wouldn't be aware of the particular agenda the author was aiming for, IMO, so I'm not sure how easily you'd be able to slip persuasion past the reader subconsciously. Especially if it's something rather specific - it's hard to make shrewd allusions to a certain brand and whatnot. I'm not sure what exactly you're trying to "persuade" people of, so I can't comment on that much.

    Barring any nefarious intent, I wish you luck I guess.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This assumes that the process of persuasion is completely independent of the actual merits of the argument, and while I am a cynic, I'm not cynical enough to believe that. People are persuaded from one political view to another because of actual arguments that address things that they believe in. Now, those arguments may or may not be true, or they may or may not be right, but they are based on _something_, something that matters very much to people. And they're also pretty clearly _arguments_, not some story that pretends not to have any agenda.

    The choice between Coke versus Pepsi, on the other hand, really isn't one that matters much to people. There's no real basis to the argument. So convincing people of it, while somehow hiding the fact that you're even talking about Coke or Pepsi... I can't imagine how that would be possible. I also can't imagine why you'd want to - most advertisers are eager to achieve brand recognition, and if you hide the fact that you're talking about Coke, how are you going to get that? Are you thinking of some weird subliminal thing like a story where the good guys are represented by a round red logo that happens to look just a little like the Coke logo?

    I still don't really understand your goal.

    ChickenFreak
     
  19. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    i think for trying to sell coke in a story i would do it like this.

    I would make a likable hero that readers would love and envy, and i would make his favorite drink a coke. and i would repeat that many times throughout the story subtly, maybe once a chapter or couple chapters.

    hopefully readers would emulate the main character in my the story, and end up drinking coke in real life. But that's a simple one. There has to have been someone whose done this before in there writing. No ones added an argument/idea to story before to try and change minds before? I looking for examples of what is effective.

    its just integrating that into a story so the reader does not feel like they are reading an essay.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    People do product placements like this in television and movies all the time - for some details and an entertaining documentary, go see Morgan Spurlock's Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

    But none of this means that it's possible to get people to, zombielike, do what you want. Odds are that people would see what you're up to and roll their eyes, or they'd read a similar story from Pepsi and the two efforts would cancel each other out.

    Read about propaganda. Read about advertising. People have been attempting this sort of thing for a very long time. But the perfect piece of propaganda, where people are persuaded of something contrary to their natural inclinations, and they don't even notice that it's happening, probably doesn't exist.

    ChickenFreak
     
  21. MRD
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    MRD Senior Member

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    That wouldn't make me want to drink Coca-Cola, it would just annoy me endlessly. And that's not just because I don't like Coca-Cola.

    I dislike it when brand-names are overly used in books, it makes things seem somehow tacky.

    Plus, unless you're very (and I mean very) good at planting these subliminal messages, then your readers will notice, and they will not appreciate it.

    My advice: Don't bother with it.
     
  22. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    do you really think product placement started on TV?
    it started with books.

    I am not asking for a story that's 100% effective on everybody that's unrealistic.
    But if you have a specific idea and you tailor your story for a specific market it should be able to improve your odds of changing minds if you use the story beforehand to plant seeds in the reader.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe the core issue here is that this site isn't for advertising or public relations writers, and that seems to be what you're talking about here.

    ChickenFreak
     
  24. johngalt1991
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    johngalt1991 New Member

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    I think your right, but maybe i am asking the wrong questions.

    Marketing aside.

    1) Whats the best way to have the reader have a emotional connection with the hero?
    1a) Does it matter if there is a different narrator, or if the hero narrates it?

    2) Does using dialogue in the story make it seem more realistic?

    3)What are some universal truths that you could use to help build an emotional connection with the character?
     
  25. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Alright, was going to stay away from this but I'll hop back in anyway. You have a long way to go. Based on the story you had originally posted, that was locked and is now gone, you need to read. The story you had posted read like an advertisement, a (very) thinly veiled attempt to get women to jump on the happy bandwagon that you want them to. As I said before, there are women who will and women who won't. It's not like trying to get someone to eat a carrot or drink a coke. What you're looking for is much more than that and the story you had posted needs a significant amount of work just for women to not roll their eyes.

    I'm really not trying to be rude or antagonistic, it's just the truth. You need to READ. A LOT. And when you think you're done, when you think you've got it, READ MORE. You have to (at the very least) create empathy for your character and from what I read there was none. Not because I have anything against what other people do, but because it was a blatant advertisement and it read like a newspaper article. If you want to write effective stories, READ MORE. Just my opinion, take it or leave it.
     

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