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Inciting Emotions and Other Simple Tasks

Recently, a journalist from somewhere out there in Deepest Internet published what he thought must be a devastating critique of cartoonist Matthew Inman from You can the read brilliant response in full here, but I want to take out just one little part for myself. While attempting to belittle Mr. Inman's talent, the attacker lays out the "formula" used by the cartoonist in six easy pieces:

-Find a common gripe.
-Pick things everybody can relate to
-Create easily digestible content
-Create an infographic
-Talk about memes and current events
-Incite an emotion

The first five of these have been the standard fare of humorists since since Ugg first started painting funny animals on the wall of her lovely cave home. But the last part? Inciting an emotion? Like it's some sort of, you know, formula thingy; like you can just wake up in the morning and decide that you can manipulate the minds of your readers?

I only wish.

If I can cause my readers to feel real emotion even once in the course of a novel, I'll feel I've done my job right. Seriously, if it's so easy, can somebody out there show me how, because I would then do it all the time. I'd become the most brilliant writer in the world.

And speaking of brilliance...

GONE GIRL -- Spoiler Free

How refreshing to love a book that the rest of the world loves too. Normally, when I see a novel advertised on hoardings, I know it's not for me. This time I was very wrong. Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl starts off as the mystery it's billed to be. A woman disappears in a small town by the Mississippi. Everybody knows that in cases of this sort it's always the husband who committed the crime. So... is it?

It's quite enjoyable finding out, which we do half-way through the book. After that, things get really interesting.

And did I mention the amazing powers of observation the author has? Her caustic, nasty wit? Check it out.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Perhaps my limited success
can be blamed on what I attempt.

I don't want to tell anyone what I feel,
or show them what I feel,
I want to leave them feeling what I feel.
Jan. 8th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
A great approach if you can pull it off!
Jan. 8th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
I read Gone Girl with my book club, and I have to admit, I didn't like it much until we actually discussed it. I still didn't LOVE it, but I had a greater appreciation for it once I got perspective from others.
Jan. 8th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
That must have been an interesting discussion! It's one of those books that has a lot of complications...
Jan. 9th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
I am working on the secret to creating emotion. So far, I've learned how to make people very angry. Indifference is nearly perfected, too. Next, I will try for "a sense of ennui".
Jan. 9th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
I love ennui. I must do, because it never stops...
Jan. 9th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
Sounds interesting.
Jan. 9th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
Well, not as interesting as I am, but still excellent ;-)
Jan. 9th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Well there is interesting and OH MY GOD I CAN'T LOOK AWAY! ;)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )