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First things first!

Welcome to the new people who are receiving my newsletter! If you lately found me through Ethony Dawn or Claire Duval and purchased a deck, I want to thank you again. Because of the recent orders, I've not been able to mail out all the tracking numbers for the parcels. Should you want to know abour your package, you can contact me and I can find the mailing receipt for yours. 
The Self-Love Oracle Inspiration for September 25th - October 1st:
Did you know I give free general readings for the week on my FaceBook page and YouTube channel? To find the inspiration and Self-Love Oracle cards drawn for this week, just click here. Whenever we feel stuck, it may just be a chance to expand our perspective and abilities.

So, what makes a story compelling?

Do you read autobiographies? Are you more likely to read one by someone you only know through mass media, or one that comes from someone you know personally? Are you attracted to autobiographies about people not especially prominent, but who overcame extraordinary challenges in their life? 

As someone who grew up a fiction reader, I never read any sort of biographies very often, unless they were of historical figures I admired. But self-help and contemporary autobiographies--usually of people prominent in business or politics--dominated the local bestseller lists while I was growing up. This is an Asian society, after all; fiction was seen as pure entertainment and could not teach you how to become more successful. (The weekly entertainment supplement had two lists for local book sales--fiction and non-fiction--and sales numbers were posted so one could see non-fiction titles outselling fiction titles by a few times.)

So now, belatedly steeping myself in self-help books and autobiographies for my ghostwriting gig, it's interesting to see how some books can strike a deep chord, while others miss the mark. And it's fiction that answers the question why: It's about emotional authenticity.

Characters that leave readers cold are those who seem to have no weaknesses or negative emotions. They will admit very little to anger, fear, jealousy, guilt, or insecurity. Their life stories are written as a timeline of accomplishments, highlighting just the high points (or mostly the high points), while difficult struggles are glossed over or rushed through, with token attributions to some innate resilience or source of grace.

A book shouldn't read like a CV. 

The most powerful books (real or fictional) are usually emotionally powerful stories--putting readers through a roller-coaster ride of shared elation, horror, grief, dread, and triumph. 

If I'm reading about courtship, I want my heart to beat faster and my hands to tremble. If injustice, I should feel fury at the perpetrators. If I'm reading about an underdog and want him to triumph, I have to have witnessed and shared in his lowest points too--fear, shame, and despair, uncomfortable as these may be to read about--so that the turnaround is all the sweeter. 

I have great respect for authors who are honest and vulnerable sharing the worst times in their life. All the more so when they recognise that they were shaped by those experiences, and stronger and more compassionate because of them. Their vulnerability in sharing becomes a basis of trust between myself and the author--even if we never meet. 

(Trust is huge. I'm highlighting this for people who are entrepreneurs or self-employed: Trust is what makes people come to you, and return to you.)

There's always some caveats for writing about real people and events, of course: If there are "bad guys," you may want to change names or keep some things unsaid in order to avoid a nasty fall-out. Diplomacy rules still apply. But putting up a facade over yourself or your most defining experience can make for weak writing and a missed opportunity to connect emotionally with readers.

Likewise, readers won't remember all your resume highlights or the brilliant phrases in your book. What will stick is how it made them feel.

If you want to know about the writing and self-publishing mentorship I offer to intuitives, healers and coaches, just hit reply!

Have a great week and October ahead,
Copyright © 2017 Janet Chui: Watercolour Visions, All rights reserved.

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