Last Word

Unlock the secret to stories that transform the reader


I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.

–John Updike



What does Updike mean by unlocking the traffic jam?

Clearly there are many things that stall our brains these days — the 24-hour news cycle, smartphones, tablets and cable television with hundreds of channels.

And that’s just a short list of the modern gadgets that command our attention.

Family and work obligations can also contribute to the crazed haze of daily living.

The question is — how do we help our readers feel free to step into a new world and leave their cluttered lives behind?

Beyond that — how do we help our readers let go of stubbornly-held feelings and opinions and embrace some new world of ideas?

Does your story allow the reader to see the world from a transformed perspective?

One way to answer this it to think on books that you have read that have made an indelible mark on your soul. Perhaps it was a story read to you as a child, or maybe it was a novella that first sparked your imagination.

What hooked you? The setting? The plot? Did you feel deeply connected to the characters?

Make a list of the stories that unraveled the mess, stress or preconceived notions in your brain.

Then, ask yourself if the writing you are doing today would unlock a reader’s own traffic jam.











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