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Do You Want To Win? Make Them Cry

May 13, 2022

My editor had an interesting comment about my most recent column.

I don’t think it’s fair to write a column that makes me cry. Just sayin’.

I can honestly say that’s the only time I’ve got that particular feedback. . .as criticism.

She certainly liked my column. And that’s not surprising.

My writing mentor, Dave Farland, gave advice on how to win writing contests. He was the coordinating judge for the Writers of The Future contest.

Every year the winning entry makes the judges cry.

I can’t say I’m particularly good at making readers cry. I’m pretty good at world building. I’m not too terrible at dialogue. And I have a pretty good sense of humor. But, being able to construct a scene designed to make someone cry? That’s harder than it looks.

I used to do stand up comedy. I got reasonably good at it. I had about 15 minutes of good material.

I spent a lot of time at open mics. Invariably there would be someone who was there for the first time. And a lot of people try stand up because, “They are funny. All there friends say they are funny.”

But, here’s the thing. It’s one one thing to be funny when a situation occurs. And that is definitely a skill. But, it’s completely different to be funny ON COMMAND.

Hey, you’re a clown fish. Tell us a joke.
– Finding Nemo

Writing a scene, or a column to make someone cry is the same way. I wrote a series of posts several years ago about having to leave my kids bikes behind during a forced move. It made ME cry. It was very sad. But, it was situational.

The column I wrote for my editor was one of those situational ones. But, it was a happy cry, not sad. It was about my daughter being named 2nd Assistant to Miss Pleasant Grove and also being elected class representative in 2nd grade.

It was more emotional than it sounds.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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