Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I've found the secret of writing a best seller!


According to an archived article on the BBC website, Agatha Christie's books were unputdownable because she cunningly employed words and phrases that invoked a chemical response in readers' brains, using a technique not unlike hypnotism. (Thanks to Charmaine Clancy for the original link.)

Clearly, we need to know these magical words so that we can slip them into our stories and have readers falling under our spell and clamouring for more. The BBC says
These phrases included "can you keep an eye on this", "more or less", "a day or two" and "something like that".
I can feel my eyelids drooping already.

16 COMMENTS:

Mother (Re)produces. said...

I swear they make this stuff up. I prefer "installing linux on a dead badger" myself.

fairyhedgehog said...

Mother, if you include that in a story I'm going to read it!

Wendy Ramer said...

When did you read this? A day or two ago, more or less? Or something like that? Can you keep an eye on this? (This should rapidly increase further response in this section as followers become mesmerized by my comment.)

Whirlochre said...

I'm sure the contemporary list is a lexicon of abject foulness.

fairyhedgehog said...

Wendy, I've got an immediate urge to read everything you've ever written. Give it to me now!

Whirl, oh I don't know. I wonder who is considered unputdownable today? Dan Brown? Stieg Larsson?

JaneyV said...

I thought "look into my eyes" might have made it. My latest WIP is packed with spyspeak.. I figure I'll blind the reader with jargon so they don't notice all the horrendous POV slips!

BTW I prettified my blog a little.


Word verification is hypti

Seriously!

fairyhedgehog said...

Jane, you could try it in your story! I'd love to see all the spyspeak you've come up with.

Your blog is looking wonderful!

Wendy Ramer said...

OK, since you put it out there...
Go to my blog and in the Pages box in the sidebar, you'll find info about my books and can even purchase them ;-)

fairyhedgehog said...

Wendy, but you have to promise me they're all as hypnotic as your comment here!

(I'll pop across and look anyway.)

writtenwyrdd said...

"I can feel my eyelids drooping already." Yep. Know JUST what you mean, lol.

fairyhedgehog said...

ww, at least it's good for insomnia.

Ann said...

Very interesting concept. I think I will make a note of all these phrases. I need all the help I can get!

fairyhedgehog said...

Ann, I think they're most helpful if you're writing bedtime stories!

Bernita said...

The idea is interesting, but they gottabekidding about the examples.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

A thousand pardons, your royal spikiness: I meant I preferred "Installing Linux on a Dead Badger" as a piece of fictional non-fiction to the boring but must-have-been invented Agatha Christie Twaddle.

Read about the badger here: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20040405/badger.shtml

fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, I entirely agree.

Mother, I'd never seen that story before. I see what you mean.

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