Three months into it and 2014 has already brought us the Olympics, the Affordable Healthcare Act, and the sweeping sensation of Buzzfeed quizzes. There is one for everything – it will tell you which character you are from your favorite movie or which time period you should have been born in. It’s gotten to the point that you can just search for a quiz you think might exist and it will be the first result on Google. It doesn’t matter if the questions are completely irrelevant to the final answer, the quizzes can still be as addicting as cocaine. It makes you wonder, if only people were as addicted to reading as they were to Buzzfeed quizzes (or drugs). Here are some tips to make your writing as in demand as a Buzzfeed quiz.

Make it Relatable
It’s all about me, me, me. That’s what Buzzfeed quizzes teach those that take them. Your writing isn’t going to be interesting unless the reader can apply it to themselves and their lives. You don’t have to predict their futures; just don’t write for an alien species. Target your audience by getting on their level and letting them know that you are one of them. Reference pop culture or media that you know your audience will be familiar with – that way no matter what you’re writing about, it’s still about them, them, them.

Introduce a New Concept
While you want to relate to your audience, you still want to teach them something they’ve never heard before. People will lose interest fast if your article is just something they have already heard before. It doesn’t have to be a new idea; after all an idea is only a “new combination of old elements” as defined by James Webb Young. For example, the novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire was based on the story of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. However, there was a twist that took the story from the Witch’s perspective rather than Dorothy’s, and it proves that she was not, in fact, wicked. It was so wildly successful that a musical was adapted for Broadway, which then went on to win awards. It was a new concept created from old elements, and a new lesson was learned by the readers and audiences.

Don’t Get Too Crazy
Amateur writers can go overboard trying to interest readers by trying to appeal to recent trends (see: vampires, werewolves, and zombies). The same is true when writers try to remake a classic (see: Star Wars sequels). Finding your own story can be a delicate balancing act but it’s important not to drop any of the important elements. Don’t underestimate the difference a little detail can make, either. Whether it’s a mistake or an Easter Egg for readers to find and obsess over, a little detail can make a big difference – so don’t make any mistakes.
As long as you are able to relate to your audience, teach them something new, and don’t go overboard with it, you will be able to write something just as addicting as a Buzzfeed quiz.

photo credit: HaoJan via photopin cc

Jamie Bates