Arousing curiosity attracts people to your writing, marketing or stories. Done right, it handcuffs them to your piece. Click bait writers, bloggers and storytellers benefit from mastering this skill. As a copywriter and blogger, I set on a path to bolster my own skills.
Each morning I spend forty-five minutes on writing exercises. It expands my creativity and improves my writing. A month ago I revised my routine. I added a simple exercise to turbo charge my curiosity creation skills.
It takes only six minutes a day of practice. Take a look at these titles. After each one, see if you can figure out the backstory.
Catering Hall Available Next Saturday. Menu And Cake Set.
House For Sale. Professionally Sanitized. Appointment Only.
Honeymoon Trip. Skip It Or Go Alone?
Funeral Postponed By Investigators. Family Questioned.
Did your mind search for a backstory on any of these?
I bet for the first and third one a canceled wedding popped into your mind.
In the second one, maybe some nefarious event that forced a house onto the market.
In the last one, your mind jumped to the possibility of a crime.
None of these stories are real. They are all part of a daily exercise I use to spark the creativity muscle. Creativity touches a wide range of skills. Curiosity is an essential skill in your creative toolkit.
The Six Minute Exercise
Each morning I spend forty-five minutes doing writing exercises. The last six minutes focuses on creating curiosity through story ideas.
The rules are simple.
Take one minute to come up with a story idea that generates curiosity. Express the idea in nine words or less. Nine is a bit arbitrary. You want to create curiosity in as few words as possible.
Components Of Curiosity
Up The Stakes
All curiosity needs mystery. Your mystery must stoke our imagination.
Who took the last cookie from the jar? Who is the husband having an affair with? Both are mysteries. I’ll forget about the cookie jar incident in a few minutes. I need to know who the cheating husband is sleeping with. The stakes run higher in the “cheating” mystery. Emotion runs higher.
Things that are out of place grab our attention. It creates a desire in your audience.
“I gotta know how this all turns out.”
Here’s an example.
Blind Man Lands Airplane. Passengers Questioned.
You would never expect a blind person to land an airplane. It creates curiosity. It triggers a craving for resolution. What happened? How did he come to land an airplane? The last two words “passengers questioned” create an extra dose of curiosity.
Simple stories work best, especially in marketing and copywriting. You don’t need to weave a story like Game Of Thrones.
Get Them Guessing
Reveal enough information to keep your audience guessing. Avoid giving away the secret. How much information should we reveal? Let’s look at one of the examples from above
Honeymoon Trip. Skip Or Go Alone?
Without the word honeymoon would it generate as much curiosity? No. The word honeymoon ups the stakes. It adds more detail without revealing the mystery. What happens if we add more information?
Honeymoon Trip. Wedding Called Off. Skip Or Go Alone?
There’s still some mystery. We lack the details behind the canceled wedding. Still, it’s not as compelling as our first choice.
Test Your Creations
It’s difficult to test the curiosity value of your creations. Try running them by a friend. How do they respond? Use it as a title for a short story of a few hundred words. If you can create a quick story of a few hundred words from an eight-word title, you might have something.
If you struggle to come up with a story, the curiosity factor lacks power.