Putting readers in the driver’s seat

Larry Brooks of Storyfix wrote this post about how to position yourself to go viral, inspired for him by reading about the success of 50 Shades of Grey.

His idea was that the book succeeded because it allowed the reader to live vicariously through the main character.

And if I think about the videos, books and video games I have loved, that is part of what I loved about them.

A few examples:

Dragon Age: Origins (video game). You are the main character. You speak as the MC, you make her decisions (and the game can change based on your decisions). Basically, you are in the driver’s seat, feeling and thinking all these things. It’s like transporting a story to paper dolls in front of you.

The Kimberly Cole video audition where the alter-ego of Nathan Barnett, über nerd Keith Apiary takes part in the audition and everyone LOVES him. He’s not just a comedian, the dude, despite all appearances, can dance.

Why we love it: because we all feel like the nerd or the odd person out in the room at one time or another and we’ve all wished we could pull out something über cool like these dance moves and win the approval of the all the people, we believe, are judging us.

50 Shades of Gray or Twilight or any romance where the heroine was flawed, majorly flawed, but manages to win the love of the “Prince Charming” hero.

Why we love them: 50 Shades of Gray, while I haven’t read it, the idea of being tied up and pleasured by a hot young man, well hell, that is of course appealing, and if he’s rich all the better. Especially if he picks the shy little college student. But romance in general, we all want to be loved. When the main character has some sort of flaw, an imperfection, we can identify with her. Perfect people are boring.

Hell, who doesn’t want a man like Edward, who worships the ground we walk on? I know that would get annoying in real life, but fiction is about escape.

What have you seen/read/played that has drawn you in and made you live vicariously through the main character? Have you found this in your own writing?

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One thought on “Putting readers in the driver’s seat

  1. I think you’re on to something here! 50 Shades and Twilight don’t appeal to me, because I don’t want to be that passive woman, but it’s been theorized that the reason the Twilight books are so popular is because there are millions of high school girls who are that ordinary girl who wants to be rescued. I imagine there are plenty of adult women looking for a fantasy like in 50 shades to take them away from all that responsibility – especially if he can pay the bills. :)

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