Thursday, February 28, 2013

Manipulating My Readers. Bwah-ha-ha!

Posted by: Tia Nevitt
I have learned to be more manipulative as a writer.

But this is not a bad thing. As a reader, in fact, I love it. So naturally, I think other readers must like it as well.

Here's what happened. I was writing an early version of THE MAGIC MIRROR AND THE SEVENTH DWARF. And I reread my opening chapter and thought, "Hmm. I need Gretchen to be more likable."

So I changed my Gretchen intro scene. As it was, she was listening to a minstrel talk about this farm that was run entirely by dwarfs. Before my manipulative rewrite, she simply listens to the story, and decides to check out the farm for herself. And maybe see if she can catch a husband.

After my rewrite, she listens to the story about the farm, is singled out as the only dwarf in town, manhandled, humiliated, and THEN she decides to go see the farm for herself.

(You can read the excerpt for yourself here.)

This is something that I only started doing recently, and I don't think it is any coincidence that these are the books that sold. When I was writing THE SEVENFOLD SPELL, one of the very last additions to the story was the scene at the beginning where Talia and her mother are engaging in passive resistance to protest the conficscation of their spinning wheel, and then Talia rushes to defend her mother. Who doesn't need it, but still, it was the thought that counted.

So while I was writing MAGIC MIRROR. I looked for opportunities to be manipulative. And I found them. Here are some teases:

  • Princess Angelika is known as "The Tattered Princess"
  • Lars defends his mates from a bully.
  • Prince Richard pretends to be insane in order to avoid putting people in danger.
  • Herr Dieter builds small furnishings for his small wife.
I also looked for opportunities for my two villains--the evil queen  and the aforementioned bully--to be awful in a sort of reverse-manipulative way.

Do I do this in real life? I'd like to think not, but this has to come from somewhere! Maybe I should ask my husband ...

You can learn more about THE MAGIC MIRROR AND THE SEVENTH DWARF at Carina Press or at my official book page. I have a giveaway going on right now for all my current ebooks--just leave a comment to enter and tell us about your favorite fictional character ever.


  1. I do this, too! I think of it as upping the drama.

    In the first draft of Soul of Kandrith Lance is terribly ill and at the end of the scene falls unconscious on someone's doorstep. By the last draft, he's terribly ill, far from the village, clawed by a cat he was trying to heal and falls unconscious facedown in a stream...

  2. You did a pretty good job of it in Gate to Kandrith as well! Which I loved. I immediately preordered Soul when I finished.

  3. Thanks, Tia! And thanks for your review, too.


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