The recipe for an emotionally compelling story
Imagine you’re on your daily walk alongside a bubbling brook.
The sky that was once blue turns foggy gray. You can hardly see where to place your feet on the well-tread dirt path.
Engaging in Mystery
The mist is wet on your face and soaks through your clothes and you start to shiver from the chill.
You look around and suddenly a tall figure appears near a tree a few feet from you. He comes closer and suddenly the mist disappears. His golden hair glistens in the returning brilliant sunlight.
Your heart flutters as you gaze into sky-blue eyes. He reaches out to you with a steamy-hot thermos in one arm and the reins of a golden stallion in another.
The Taste and Touch of Magic
Your hands touch and you’re jolted by an electric shock.
You take the opened thermos in both your hands and raise it to your lips. You feel its heat warm your nose. The hot liquid spills down your throat and its warmth radiates through your body. Your cold clammy skin suddenly feels warm as the sun magically removes the dampness in your clothes.
“This tastes of magic,” you tell him. “What is it?”
“It’s an old family recipe,” he says, smiling warmly. “From my fair-haired grandmother.”
Discovering the Recipe
Suddenly, you wake up from your dream.
“I’ve got it!” you cry out to the dark room.
You turn on the light, open your computer, and begin to write.
For you’ve now discovered the secret RECIPE, the recipe that you’ve been looking for all week. The recipe that was missing from the book you were writing. The recipe that you needed to make your story a memorable experience for your readers.
The Recipe for an Exotic Elixir.
For the recipe for making your dream of helping your reader solve his writing problem is as old as the recipe for that hot drink in your dream.
The recipe for creating a book. Or an article. Or a blog post. Or a sales letter … that sells … is an old family recipe that readers and writers everywhere will recognize… and chug as if it was an exotic elixir. As if it is the potion that heals their woes, removes their body aches, and warms their souls.
For the RECIPE that drives chilled and thirsty people to the bookstore, or their mailbox, or a web blog in search of a mouthwatering, thirst quenching, soul-warming read …
is a riveting emotionally compelling idea packaged in enchantment.
As Mark Morgan Ford and Will Newman say in Persuasion, ”effective persuasion is the presentation of emotionally compelling ideas with clarity and specificity.”
A Dry-throated Thirst for Story
In other words, it’s an emotionally compelling idea that enthralls people. And to do that, you tell a story.
You put that emotionally compelling idea in the form of a story that forms a vivid picture using crystal clear words, words that are as specific as the steamy heat rising from that thermos filled with the recipe from his fair-haired grandmother.
For according to Jim Edwards in Copywriting Secrets, “stories make people thirsty.”
And according to Morgan and Newman, “an emotionally compelling idea engages the reader or listener on two levels: emotionally (in the heart) and rationally (in the mind).”
In other words, you must touch their hearts and minds with a driving thirst for more.
The Aha Experience
Morgan and Newman also say it doesn’t have to be true, but it does have to feel true. For it’s “so emotionally attractive” the reader “wants it to be true.”
And it also “generates a feeling of discovering something new and useful.”
They explain it elicits an “Aha!” experience, the experience
“I never knew that before. But WOW! That’s really something. It’s so true, I never would have believed it!”
But finding and emotionally compelling idea isn’t as easy as sitting at a computer and immediately conjuring up a few thoughts and having it just pop up as you type on your keyboard.
Emotionally Compelling Recipe
For, explain Morgan and Ford, finding the right idea takes lots of research. The thought of an emotionally compelling idea as a recipe was a thought I had when I first got their book. Then I looked through my rhyming dictionary and made it an acronym.
Then I got the story idea from a song in a scene from the movie Legends of the Fall, and the words, “in her hand lay the reins of a stallion.” The story just sort of all came together as I typed it out.
But it was weeks of simmering in my mind before it became as clear as the song I heard in my head.
Then, once you get that recipe, that story that depicts that emotionally compelling idea, you have to tie it to the idea for your post.
“The secret is about the why and how to get people to react with emotion,” says Edwards, “because emotion is what drives sales.”
The Meaning and the Emotion
And according to Edwards, “meaning creates emotion.”
So, says Edwards, you write about the product’s feature and benefits and continuously ask,
*“what does this mean to your prospect?”
*“Why is this important?”
*”Why does this matter?”
If you’re writing an article, you ask what is the purpose of this article? What are you trying to get your reader to do?
What emotion are you seeking to ignite in your prospect? What do you want the reader to feel?
You want to tie your story and your purpose into one thirst-quenching recipe. So you dive deep into how your character feels, what she wants, what drives her to entertain the idea of continuing to read your story.
Picturing the Outcome
The character in the above story feels refreshed, warm and cozy after a chilling experience. So that feeling must be put on the stove and left to simmer by maintaining a warm feeling in the pit of your reader’s stomach.
Thus, you keep going back to the vision of glistening golden sunlight, reminding her of the rising hot steam, the taste of hot liquid warming her throat, the warmth radiating through her entire body.
And the mystery and sexual excitement ignited in her when gazing into the eyes of this stranger.
Keep them Drinking
For just like any other recipe, you have to have a vision of the results you want. The results that will drive your reader to keep drinking.
So you make that recipe really satisfying and thirst quenching. You make it emotionally compelling with many quick glimpses of the results she’ll get.
You want the reader to see herself sitting in her kitchen with the handsome stranger at her table, each sipping a steaming cup, gazing into each other’s eyes, murmuring soft heart-warming words into each other’s ears.
As Edwards say,
“the more emotionally charged you can make that meaning, the more sales you’ll make.” The more reads you’ll get. The more books you’ll sell.
Thirst-Quenched in a Desert
So, Edwards advises you to make a list of 10, 20, even 30, reasons why continuing to read matters to her. Those reasons are how you connect emotionally to your reader.
For, explains Edwards, emotional connection is how you turn browsers into buyers … turn buyers into raving fans … and turn raving fans into lifetime readers and book buyers.
And it all starts with the old family recipe of an emotionally compelling idea that is conveyed through a compelling story. A story that makes your reader dry-throated and lip-chapped thirsty.
So thirsty she thinks the only life-saving thirst-quenching drink in the desert, the only drink available, is in the only oasis. And that’s your life-giving story.