Repetition: The Way to Readers’ Hearts

I’m sitting in my astronomy class right now.

Yes I know, shame on me, blogging during class… I should be taking notes. Now, back to the point.

Something has occurred to me, however, and I just have to share.

Right now we are learning about light waves in astronomy. As demonstration of Transverse and Longitudinal Waves he (The Professor) pulled out a slinky… Yes in a college course we are using slinkies… Transverse waves are what happen when you compress a portion of a “taught” slinky and the release. Longitudinal are the waves that go up and down like a child might draw when asked to draw water. They are also the easiest to determine wavelength with because it is the difference between 2 troughs or 2 valleys.

Here’s the interesting part… I’ve seen this before… no, not deja vu. Last school year I took a college physics course in high school. We went over waves then too. The only difference is that this Prof. is no where near as excited as he should be and his slinky is not multiple colors as my high school teacher’s slinky was. (she had 3 kids I think she may have “borrowed” it from one of them)

We learn things by repeating them, I can not tell you how many times I went over the states and capitals from Kindergarten- High School. I would be sitting in math class and start working ahead because we were reviewing everything from my class the year before with a few added letters of numbers. (My calculator was my best friend.)

When I did not do my homework I started doing poorly on tests, when I did not write my spelling words over and over I misspelled things. Repetition is how we learn.

So what does this have to do with anything?

As writer’s we are telling people stories, real and fake. humans are forgetful by nature. We do not always remember the little important details. Neither do we enjoy it when things are repeated too often, as I am currently experiencing in this astronomy class… ROY G. BIV has been my friend since first grade, I think I get it… to put our story firmly into the mind of readers it needs to be repeated. Now I’m not saying copy and paste your story multiple times back to back, you’ll be marked as an amateur, my advice will be forever ignored from the moment this post goes live, and you will be laughed out of the writing field… industry… whatever it’s called.

What you need to do is repeat the details, show the readers why your characters matter, why their plot, quest, or whatever is worthy of their time and attention. You need to remind them or they will get bored and put your story down.

Play the details on loop and your story will succeed.

That’s all I got, thanks for listening.

-M.K.

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