Category Archives: Writing Tips

Great Super Bowl Ads: What Writers Can Learn

I’m the first to admit that I am not a football fan. At all. And I won’t be watching the Super Bowl tonight. Not even for the ads, even though I do enjoy watching them. So tomorrow, I’ll be looking for the news story or blog that provides the link to all the Super Bowl ads.

But because I have a habit of tying everything in life back to writing, I got to thinking this afternoon about what we can learn from a great Super Bowl ad.

Below are what I believe are three qualities of great Super Bowl ads.

  1. Memorable – We need to create worlds that suck in our reader and when we finally let them go, they’ll never forget where they were. And they will want to revisit that world again and again in their minds. We need to create characters that our readers connect with and can relate to – characters they can have feelings for, whether it’s love, hate, lust, etc.
  2. Buzz – We need to create that sense of overwhelming excitement in our writing, that “buzz”, that keeps people talking about it and you, that keeps them hungry for your next word and your next book.
  3. The Three T’s – Great Super Bowl ads have one or more of these three qualities. So should our writing.
  4. a) TugThey tug at the heartstrings and make you say “awwww….” 
    b) TickleThey tickle your funny bone and make you laugh.
    c) ThinkThey engage your mind and help you think about something in a new way.

Corporations spend millions of dollars on the “media buy” – the 30 seconds (or less) of ad time. But they rarely reveal the time and money that goes into actually creating and producing these ads. Trust me, I used to work in advertising, and it isn’t easy coming up with an ad that resonates with an audience and sells product, no matter what the medium.

At the core, great Super Bowl ads build brands and sell product. And isn’t that what we’re trying to do with our writing? With all the behind-the-scenes blood, sweat, tears and time that we devote to our craft? Sell our books to multitudes of people who will love and enjoy them, and tell all their friends?

That’s my ultimate goal. What’s yours?

MLUV:) Be blessed!

Dominique

6 Tips For Writing The First Page

This weekend, I happily began writing my second novel, WAKE UP LOVE CALL — a full three days earlier than my self-imposed goal. And as I sat there at my computer, I struggled to actually “start” writing.

As fiction writers, we all know how difficult it is to write that first word, that first sentence, that first paragraph and so on.

I experienced this with my first novel, TEACH ME TONIGHT and I was determined to do things differently the second time around. 

So instead of panicking, I decided to reflect on what I’d learned thus far about the task of writing the first page.

Dominique’s “First Page” Writing Tips

1) Hook ‘Em To Your Book — You must reel your audience into your story with that first sentence. And it must be so good, so compelling that they keep reading to the next sentence, and the next, and so on. No wonder it’s often the hardest one to write. You’ll want to spend a significant amount of time on this.

2) Setting the Stage — Let your readers know “where” they are at in the story.  Don’t pour out all the details yet, just give them a sense of time and place.

3) Who’s The Main? (Character, that is!) — Decide on your POV character and stick to it throughout the first scene, or even through the first chapter, if you’d like. Head-hopping or switching POV frequently is always discouraged because it can confuse people.

4) Deliver the Goal — Within the first paragraph or two, the reader should be clear on the goal of the main character.

5) Advertise Conflict — Based on the goal of the main character, who or what is trying to stop her from achieving that goal?

6) Motivate To Relate — Tell us what the motivation is behind the main character’s goal. Why should we care that she wants this goal (or him!) so badly. Revealing your character’s motivation helps the reader begin to emotionally bond with them — and your book!

Now, I know what you’re saying.

“Dominique. You must be crazy, girl! How can I possibly cover all that in the first page of my book! “

I’m here to tell you YES — you can do it. If you would just break up that first page into the components I’ve described above, you will see that writing the first page will be less stressful and more gratifying for you.

And once you have a first page you love and you’re confident about, it’s much easier to write the second page, third and the entire book.

It worked for me. I even won a first place in a RWA-chapter contest that was based on the 1st 5 pages of TEACH ME TONIGHT.

I invite you to give it a try — and comment here with your experiences.

MLUV:) Be blessed!

— Dominique