PAMELA BROWNING

"Pamela Browning has a gift for creating memorable characters and richly detailed settings." Romantic Times

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Tears Are A Fine Thing

November 3, 2012

Tags: How to write a bestseller, favorite authors

Have you ever wanted to write a bestseller? You can do it! All you have to do is analyze what makes a book sell lots of copies. Then do it yourself.

A very famous megaseller author writes fascinating, emotionally engaging books that regularly top the bestseller lists. Many of them have been made into movies. This author's one of my favorites. I read almost everything she writes. So I sat down with one of her books, a highlighter and an adding machine to figure out what makes her writing so popular.

The answer is tears.

In the book I was reading, the characters cry a total of 67 times during the book's 400 pages.

The hero is sharply drawn and sympathetic, and bad things happen to him. He's entitled to cry a lot. And he does - 22 times.

Another main character only cries 12 times, but she dies before the book ends.

The hero's daughter cries 10 times. She's really entitled to more, since she's just a kid.

The hero's mother produces tears 10 times, the father only once. He's probably just stoic, but he may also have obstructed tear ducts.

The hero's girlfriend cries six times and doesn't even appear until the last part of the book.

Other tears are scattered here and there among minor characters, and don't forget the reader. It's a good idea to keep a full box of Kleenex handy.

Weeping is stimulated not only by sad events but happy ones as well. Sad reasons for crying, however, outnumber happy ones by a ratio that I would have figured out if the numbers on my calculator hadn't been blurred by my own tears.

With 67 crying scenes in 400 pages, there's a crying scene an average of every 5.93 pages.

So when you sit down to write your bestseller, remember, tears sell. And after you write one, you'll be crying all the way to the bank.