Wright’s Writing Corner: Evoking the Desired Response

New article up on the site of my beautiful and talented wife, who writes under the name L. Jagi Lamplighter:


One of the difficult things for writers is knowing whether or not one is accomplishing what one set out to accomplish. Is my scary scene scary? Is my romantic hero intriguing? Will my funny scene make people laugh?

This is a tremendously difficult question because things just don’t seem the same when you write them as when you read them. A scene can seem frightening to the author or make the author laugh out loud, but if the words do not capture the essence of the idea, it will fall flat to the reader.

It goes the other way as well. A scene can seem quite flat to the author and come alive in a spray of sparkly magic for the reader.


This happens a lot. An author might think a certain scene is frightening or humorous the first time through…or the second, or the fourth. But by the tenth revision, it can be really hard to tell what kind of response the scene is intended to invoke, as now it just seems like a jumble of words and ideas.

There are two things that can go wrong when trying to evoke a response.

Read the whole thing.