They named it appropriately when they called it the “power” of suggestion.
The other day, hubby and I were driving to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. I was deciding whether to order the chicken tamale or the beef tostado when hubby interrupted my thoughts.
“Did you say you’re writing a story about someone who wins the lottery?”
I babbled on about Allison Theodore and the gorgeous property she purchased on Wren Island.
“Huh.” Hubby slowed the car through a school zone. “How much did she win?”
“She didn’t say, exactly. I got the impression it was several millions, though. She’s definitely set for life.”
A few minutes later, hubby clicked on the car’s turn signal. “I think I’ll stop and buy a lottery ticket.”
I started processing how I felt about this. Hubby knows as well as I do the odds are against winning. Should I discourage him? But since the ticket would only cost a couple of dollars, maybe we could consider it part of our lunch expense. Maybe I could get excited about buying a ticket and hope, even pray, for the best.
“Wait a minute,” I said, connecting the dots. “Are you saying that you’ve been thinking about the character in my story winning millions and now you want to buy a lottery ticket?”
Hubby shrugged. “I guess so.”
I shook my head. “I don’t want my readers running out to buy lottery tickets because of something I wrote.”
Now, dear reader, let me be clear. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong, exactly, with playing the lottery. If buying a lottery ticket would float your boat, I hope the numbers work out very well for you. But I don’t want to be the one who encouraged you to buy a lottery ticket.
With interactive serialized fiction, readers are included in the real-life experiences that influence the story. They help me decide where the story goes and what the characters do. They’re right there with me in that special place where real life inspires fiction.
So, first, I changed the wording of the promo blurb for The Wren Island Series. Instead of mentioning a lottery win, the promo now read:
When 45-year-old Allison Theodore unexpectedly comes into money, she knows exactly how she wants to spend it. She’s going to adopt a bunch of homeless dogs, move to an island, and try her hand at songwriting. But composing music requires more creativity than Allison expected, and Allison’s unconventional neighbors don’t understand her desire for privacy. Allison’s organized plan for easy-peasy canine care isn’t working out so well, either. Then, Allison’s eccentric aunts move in. An unforgettable setting provides the backdrop for this story about second chances, spontaneous family, and steadfast love.
Then, ahead of the release of the first installment, I wrote this to my subscribers:
No more lottery win for Allison Theodore! The real way Allison ended up with her money is quite sweet. And I will not give you any spoilers, but I will say this: Next time someone I love feels inclined to buy a cute little painting at a yard sale, I’ll probably encourage her to do so. Because you just never know about these things …
What about you, reader? Does the idea of being the first to know an inside scoop appeal to you?
It’s easy and fun to catch up. When you subscribe to receive my emails, you’ll receive a link to an e-book that will catch you up on everything that’s happened on Wren Island so far. Then, watch your inbox for behind-the-scenes updates and opportunities to influence what happens next!
(This post is adapted from a note I wrote my subscribers in the fall of 2022. As a subscriber, you’ll be among the first to read more notes like these!)
[Photo courtesy of Unsplash.]