I often think about how to increase my income. Always whittling my ideas down to a nut, attempting to find fault, attempting to prove its worth.
Sometimes, I’ll read a book on business ideas, or marketing, or the infamous practice of “niching down” till your product is skin and bones, till it’s as honest as the day is long.
Right now, I’m reading a book. Not to mention its name or author, it’s about building a great offer that people can’t refuse. Well that sounded good, and if the guy can give me some solid insight, I’ll listen to his ideas.
The first chapter was a well written rags to riches story. I enjoyed it because it led me along by the nose, made me feel pleased that at least somebody in this world is doing well, and for short time I could share their joy; that’s the key in writing rags to riches pieces.
The next chapter went into the nuts and bolts of making an offer and pricing it to the hilt — for maximum profit. 1000 bucks a customer x ten customers a month, and you’re in good street. Easy peasy.
It was when the writing careened into twisty-turny sentences to convince me that one thousand dollars isn’t much, and loads of people will pay this price without objection, that I began to scratch my head. I thought, “Really?” — “Depends, on what the product is.”
I don’t pay 1000 dollars a month for services. Some men might, but they tend to end up in therapy, looking to cure their false love of a young lady of the night. Poor fellow.
So I suppose the author meant, but didn’t say, you should be marketing to the luxury markets where people spend money to confirm their status in life. I don’t live in that world. I have a flat, a cat, and happy life with my writing.
In fiction writing there’s this thing that every good writer should know, in the story the narrative will hit a problem. It’s an unavoidable problem.
The problem will be a point where another step forward to keep the pace and the tension high, isn’t realistically possible. Real life and logic gets in the way, and you might discover that you’ve written yourself into a tight corner. In the real world we all know it’s the end of the road.
But a good writer knows it can’t be the end, so we plough on and find a way that only works in the fictional world of suspension of disbelief. — ignoring the reality that such things can’t possibly happen in real life.
To overcome the problem, writers adeptly turn their skills to the narrative leap, and hope they get it right. They leap, and carry on into the rest of the marvellous adventures of their steely characters who always find a way through. They hope the reader didn’t stop to analyse the ridiculous actions of the hero. Great writers are damned good at it — you never notice.
I recently watched the TV series, “Inside Man”, it’s beginning is a good example of the scriptwriter making a ridiculous narrative leap of faith with his audience, so bad, that I’m sure he just hopes the rest of the story is so engaging that he’ll be forgiven.
The premise of the story is depicted through Illogical character motivations that wouldn’t happen — absolute cringy stuff. It’s the premise of why everything went wrong and the characters are faced with a dilemma. But it makes no sense.
There’s no real narrative at that point, so, there’s no leap.
Thereafter, high production, excellent acting, engaging characters who all work hard to convince us that there is a real story to tell. I just can’t forget the beginning scenes that made me sit up and say, “But wait a minute, that would never happen…”.
Business books sell like hot cakes these days. ‘How to Get Rich in Your Dreams’, etc. George Carlin had a lot to say about that type of idea; Yeah, you have to be dreaming to believe it.
It’s tough to make money. I occasionally read writers on this platform who are so disappointed by their income results. Then I look abroad, across the internet, and in the realms of Quora, Reddit and other conversational social media threads, I see the big question; How can I Make a Bundle of Money and be Happy?
Well, the book I am reading claims to have all the answers, but after just a couple of chapters, I know that it begins well, makes me believe in the story, and then immediately bangs head on into an illogical sequence of ideas; Find a perfect product that nobody can refuse, raise the price as high as you can, and sell it to ten repeating customers. Then, bank a bundle each month and retire as you please. It works on paper.
Try turning it into a screen play. You’re going to need some pretty convincing actors to pull off this feat of genius. Find a perfect product, right done! Raise the price, done! Bank the money, done! Show over. I didn’t enjoy that, it had no tension.
Most business books, the ones that show us rags to riches, and how you can emulate the formula, are based on great story telling; the Hero’s Journey.
The good ones get us riled up in our seats, they lead us along a pathway that is known, the hero’s journey. We read the business book as if it’s a thriller, just waiting to see if the character, who is us identifying with the writer, will actually kill the monster of poverty with a final blow of the sword.
The hero’s Journey is a great story. Recent years have shown how it’s been bandied around the internet as if it’s the only true story to tell. As if that’s all humans do, strive to be a hero.
Heroics win the day, and we all want to be a hero. Get our face on the front page, or our work of fiction on the shelves, to fight monsters and win.
There’s always an afterward in every story. When we achieve the hero status there’s an inkling of an idea deep within us that it’s then that everybody will love us, accept us. We’ll become the go-to person for trust and love.
Society sends us a message that without first conquering the monster, we are not worthy of love and acceptance.
When we only read books that show us clear-cut paths to riches, to reach for the end and win, then we miss the point of the hero’s journey.
Hercules didn’t stop after he killed his last monster. Life went on. In fact, the ending of the story was clipped by the classicists. He became a houseman, and lived at home doing the housework, wore his wife’s clothes — just to see what it was like.
Then one day his mates came along, knocked on his door and told him, “Herc old fellow, there’s another monster at large,” — “It’s up there on Mount Olympus. Could you go deal with it?”
His excuses of never ending housework didn’t cut it and his buddies convinced him to go. So, he went and fought, but discovered he wasn’t up to the task. He succumbed on Mount Olympus, infected by a strange substance that burned his body. He perished in combat.
All stories must have an end.
The book that I mentioned, the one that will lead me from rags to riches, may also lead me to Mount Olympus, a place where I’ll bite off more than I can chew, and perish in the burning mists upon the mount.
Or, alternative ending, I’ll keep writing and create my own world of happiness and love with the pen.
By the way, reading is the healthiest way to avoid reality.