Roving Report: What Novelists Can Teach You About Copywriting

Girl in bookstore, framed by books

You probably know Heather Robson as Wealthy Web Writer’s Managing Editor and a freelance copywriter.

But do you know she also writes fiction?

Heather started her fiction-writing career about seven years ago, and she loves it when she finds crossovers between fiction and copy or content writing. She believes as you get  stronger at one type of writing, you get stronger at all of them.

To help you improve as a web writer, she set out to find some lessons we can all learn from fiction writers and shared them with Wealthy Web Writer members in a live webinar. You can view the replay HERE.

Heather excerpted 19 quotes from novelists — half of them from one prolific author. She read each quote to us, and then explained its relevance for web writers.

“Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there’s no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.” – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

This quote describes how, in order to move from one place to another, we have to desire some change or transformation.

“As copywriters, we’re always trying to lead our audience from where they are to another place,” Heather noted.

Heather’s a big fan of “positive messages in copy,” but she acknowledges that, even when you’re writing from a positive place, you must recognize the reader’s sense of loss, regret, or yearning.

The bridge from where someone is to where they want to be is often the product or service you’re selling. “You need to recognize what it is and why it’s there and how your bridge will move them from where they are to where they want to be,” Heather advised.

“Your copy always starts with the recognition that, for the reader, there is something missing. You have to find that pain point.”

The equation is simple: no pain point, no story.

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Susanna Perkins

Susanna was dragged back, kicking and screaming, into freelancing after losing her job in the banking meltdown in March, '09. One 3-month stint in an appalling temp job persuaded her to get serious about establishing herself as web writer. In March, 2012, she moved to a small town in Panama with her husband and three small dogs. After enjoying the writer's life in the culture of "buenas" and "mañana" for 2-1/2 years, she's returned to the US. At least for now.

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