In Chapter 2 of Volume 1, in the Chapter on Grabbing your audience, I look at some ideas to make writers more aware of the need to connect with the audience: as Jon Boorstin puts it, that connection is with the head, heart and guts of the audience, or cerebral, emotional and visceral.
In order for a writer to be able to ‘get’ this layered connection, I think they need to understand how movies, TV and books impact on them. If you understand why a piece of storytelling brings tears to your eyes or a smile to your mouth, you are half way to be able to cause that effect on your viewers or readers.
An excellent description of this is given by Jeanetter Winterson in the Intro to the Audible edition of her book ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRIUT. This was reported in a fascinating newsletter (free or donations) at www.brainpickings.org. Winterson says:
“The trick is to turn your own life into something that has meaning for people whose experience is nothing like your own. Write what you know is reasonable advice. Read what you don’t know is better advice…”
Actually, I think that writing what you know is very limiting. Whatever you write must be believable. Aristotle said that believability was more important than (factual) truth. And what distinguishes one writer from another is the ability to select words that either on the page or screen create images and scenes that resonate with the recipient so that they are imagining that they are in that scene, in that world. Which means they have, at least momentarily, forgotten where they are and even possibly who they are.
If you can do that by connecting with them emotionally, you are likely to be entertaining them.