So… what floats your neuro- scientific boat?

Nancy Jardine -selfie
Nancy Jardine -selfie

This post is by Nancy Jardine

Writing novels is an emotionally exhausting business, isn’t it?

Well, to be more precise it’s truly the marketing of a novel that’s the draining factor- for me, anyway. When it gets to the book launch phase, I’ve forgotten all the time involved in the writing of the story, and I’ve largely forgotten the emotional energy I expended in creating my characters. I don’t worry, though, because as soon as I properly get back into new writing I’ll be back on that boat and that emotionally hyped-up/balanced with a wrung-out feeling will probably float along with me and my characters till the end is typed on the book.

image use purchased from
image use purchased from

Those who know me via this Writing Wranglers blog will know that over a period of the last 11 weeks I’ve had 1 totally new book launch, and 2 re-launches of contemporary novels with a second publisher. Yesterday was the third of those Facebook Party ‘launches’ and I’m now looking forward to getting on with new writing.

The fact that I’ve nothing in the pipeline that’s remotely near publishing on Amazon, I have to admit, is actually a relief and yet some bloggers might say that’s what I’m doing wrongthat’s why my books aren’t selling like hotcakes.

Get as many books launched and marketed, and then get yet more books made available as soon as possible! Those marketing ploys are part of the Social Experience of reading and writing a novel, they say.

But what is this full Social Experience?

Some authors who write series book can churn out loads of books in a short time span. I personally know a couple of very successful author colleagues at Crooked Cat Publishing who can do this and they’re now at around book 10 in their crime series – written over just the last couple of years (David W. Robinson/cosy crime and Catriona King/police procedural). They’ve each generated a large following who love to read more of their protagonists who appear in new ‘cases’. They have clearly managed to hook in a good client base of readers for their work but I also know that they write tirelessly and deserve every bit of their popularity!

So, what is it that readers really want to read and what is most emotionally important to them? What engages them more and makes them be different afterwards as a result of the reading?

Seriously big Questions.

I don’t hold much sway with all of the Neuro-scientific data that’s produced about reader preferences and lasting impressions left by particular books—mainly because that data might be presented differently in a few years time—but I do like the idea that’s being mooted in some of these articles that good ‘literary’ fiction has a completely different effect on a person than the reading of non-fiction or ‘pop-fiction’. (I’m not personally fond of the use here of the word ‘literary’ but they use it in a very broad general way)

Some of these neuro scientific studies done on children are very interesting and quite encouraging. Though done on a small percentage of readers the results show that engaging the emotions of younger readers in a lasting way is incredibly important and will hopefully remain a positive factor in the future development of those people.
Expanding that younger reader market would be marvellous if, in time, it leads to a greater number of generally more empathetic adults. This article HERE has some interesting aspects.

Some of these neurological studies are indicating that people in general who read ‘better/literary’ fiction (not the more poorly written fad of the month or year) can become more empathetic themselves as a result of fully engaging with characters – if the story really does expand on character development and displays believable characters, flaws and all. Stories which challenge the reader in some way, they say, can leave more lasting effects.
This HERE is another site on the topic.

20150118_230503Some classics are heralded as being able to engage the emotions better in readers, than transitory ‘popular’ fiction. But what is it about their quality which has made those books classics? Is it merely a timelessness to the stories, or parallels with the ‘evils and good bits’ of daily life?

Or was it serious time investment by the author in creating more profound settings and emotionally charged characters in those environments?

Whatever those huge answers are—new novels can become classics given time. (The Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling are now classified as classics by many but they didn’t exist a few decades ago.)

Partly due to expanding internet sales we now have an immense fiction market out there but the books can be hard to find. So…Do we have to increase the global reader market first to fully appreciate what’s currently available to the public? Another site of possible interest is HERE.

More big questions.

I know what I’ll be doing soon. I’ve tried hard so far to give my stories a timeless feel to surroundings and events (even though some of my novels are clearly rooted in particular historical eras) and I’ll be trying very hard in my new writing to invest my characters with emotionally believable traits which will affect the reader.

On the other hand, I also consider myself as part of the reading fraternity who just plain like to be entertained by a book and its lasting effect doesn’t matter to me- exceptam I subliminally drawn to those which do ‘improve’ me in some way? Is that why I chose the books I want to read from the multitudes on Amazon and other places? Mmmm..I have to think a bit more.

How about you? How do you feel about these neuro- scientific studies? And what floats your boat? (insert smiley face here)

Have a nice weekend!

TMNx1000Nancy Jardine writes contemporary romantic mysteries, romantic historical adventures and time travel historical adventures for the Teen/ YA market.

Buy her latest- Take Me Now – from Amazon at the special launch price of 99p/ $.50

Amazon Author page for all novels

x7nancyjardineNancy can be found at the following places: BLOG  WEBSITE Facebook
Nancy Jardine at: LinkedIN  About Me  Goodreads  Twitter @nansjar Google+
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16 thoughts on “So… what floats your neuro- scientific boat?

  1. These are all interesting questions. I like to think I create engaging characters with flaws, though I hardly think what I write rises to the level of literature. And I do feel like the great pieces of literature that I’ve read over the years have stayed with me more fully than others. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and LES MISERABLES are examples of books that literally changed my view of the world and also my view of my role in it. They, along with a few others, made me want to continually become a better person. But, to a much lesser degree, so has Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series.

    Not sure any of that made sense.


    1. Hi Joe. It did to me. there have been books that I’ve read which have left a lasting impression and so called classics that have left me cold. A kind of interesting thing about some classics is that they were actually the ‘popular ‘ books of their own time- eg Charles Dickens (whose wriitng has definitely been important to me) who was a ‘social commentator’ and who exemplified many very bad aspects of Victorian society. Harper Lee was also in that category. So is it their settings that matters a LOT? I wonder…


  2. Interesting points and questions. I choose books according to mood and need most of the time, and occasionally because someone gives me a book or suggests a book that gave them information or insight. i read to escape, and maybe learn something new. Engaging characters are what we all strive for in fiction, or non-fiction I think, and I hope my characters lead to self-discovery by the reader and maybe positive changes in their lives. Although I had fun writing a murder mystery short-story that just showed a twisted mind, (my psych nursing was showing) and which none of my friends could reconcile with the person they think is me! I don’t know I bettered any body with it either!


    1. Mood is important to me, too, Neva. Something out of character (as in the author) should be something to be commended since your friends know what you are like on a daily basis. You writing as an author, and not showing your own personality, I think must mean you have achieved your goal. 🙂


  3. No way could I write 10 books in 2 or 3 years. I have enough trouble doing 1 book in two or three years. I mean… the ones doing these Henry Ford assembly line books, do they have any life pursuits outside writing their novels?


    1. Good point, Mike. I think the answer is no they don’t but they do have extenuating circumstances. My friend David Robinson has health and mobility problems which means he is immobile a lot of the time and being at a desk is ok for him. He chooses to focus his energies on creating more of his cosy crime stories (though he does write some much darker thrillers as well) Outside pursuits are probably occasional. My life is the opposite in that my family needs mean I’m hardly ever able to get to my computer these days- so stories are slow to be created.


  4. Good questions and worthy of lots of thought. Stories, if told well, will keep me engaged. To stay with me for longer than the time I pick up the next book, I have to connect with the characters, feel I’m a part of what they are going through. Now, to study the studies. Thanks Nancy. Doris


    1. Doris- I wish I could remember all the great books that I’ve read but my mind doesn’t work that way. Those which have affected me most have left a sense/ a feeling of empathy though I don’t remember the actual stories as such. I don’t think it’s necessary to remember everything about a story to know you have enjoyed it.


  5. Thanks Nancy, I too like to learn something from my reading. I read a lot of devotional type books, and a few that are just entertaining. Sounds like you know a lot more of what you are doing then I do. Takes me longer to write a book. Good luck on all of your adventures. Cher’ley


  6. You have done a lot of research here, Nancy, and I’m so glad you shared it with us. I definitely learned some things I didn’t know and others I’d like to implement. I love writing, but I hate marketing. Since I’ve been on a two-year hiatus my sales are in the abyss, but I hope to feel like writing again soon. I think part of what holds me back is spending hours one the marketing when I’d rather be writing. No time to read the links now, but when we come back in from the lake I will, since we have internet at home and none there.


  7. Interesting and thought-provoking post, Nancy. That emotional connection has always been important to me. Even if I’m reading something that is largely meant to be “entertainment,” I’m pulled in more deeply if the characters/events move me in some way.


  8. Deep questions, Nancy. For me, I write from the heart and because my dogs have been/are my characters, I know them well. I admire those of you who write fiction and create believable, amazing characters because they do have to be “real” and “interesting” for me to keep turning pages. I hope to work on that aspect of fiction writing myself one day. 🙂 Thanks for a thought-provoking post!


  9. I could never crank out several books in a years time. I generally write about me. That means I have to go do the stuff I write about before I can write about it. I also try to connect my reader with the critters I photograph. Hopefully this gives them a respect for critters that they will carry with them for a lifetime.


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