fiction · Uncategorized

Character-Brain, Plot-Brain: The Irresistible Novel

Venturing into week 22 of The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke requires a couple of short lessons on brain chemistry. In order to write a novel that is irresistible for readers one must understand the basic way a reader’s brain functions. In order to write this portion of his book, Gerke enlisted the advice and research of a man named Dr. Zak who is a  founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies.


In the last chapter, Hacking Your Reader’s Brain, the author discusses the secret to hooking a reader. The secret he revealed is creating compelling characters and a plot rich in struggle. Characters are most compelling when their vulnerability is evident. Reader’s identify with protagonists who have major odds against them and who face situations with which many readers can sympathize. When a reader meets a character struggling with loss, need, or pain they quickly form a connection and investment in that particular character. Once you’ve built that connection the reader will continue to read your book to see whether or not the character will defy the odds against them.

When it comes to plot be sure to fill the pages of your book with struggle after struggle and vary between large scale and small scale struggle from the character’s perspective. If a reader senses that little conflict is taking place they check out emotionally. You want to create a plot that causes the reader’s heartbeat to race and oxytocin to release in their brains.

My Current Project

When it comes to compelling characters I feel that I’ve placed a lot of attention on the vulnerability of both of my main characters. Both have things they lack and want. Both are seeking to feel loved. Both have messed up in some major ways before the story even starts. From the point where each is introduced it is obvious that these characters’ lives are far from perfect and they are seeking the same things as the rest of humanity.

As far as my plot I have also tried to fill my manuscript pages with many struggles. This is an area I could continue to refine, but for now some major struggles include: addiction, loss, rejection, and love.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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