Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mario here:

A management-type person once told me there is one personality trait that HR doesn't like in an employee.


Funny you might say as we all like to stand next to someone charming in the hopes that some of that glitter will cling to us.

The problem for HR is that charisma brings its own form of authority that can circumvent the hierarchy. The guy in the corner office might be the boss because the organizational chart says so. He's got his walls plastered with management certificates, proof that he's punched all the tickets that crown him a leader. But there's this other guy who people defer to because being around him, getting his okay, makes you feel good about yourself. His blessing adds sparkle to your work.

What's this got to do with writing?

Plenty. The charisma you bring to the page, through your voice, is what adds authority to your prose. Authority in the sense that you're someone worth paying attention to and that your words will enrich the reader.

Enrich the reader? That's a big meatball. All you want to do is tell a story. That's just it. You have to tell an interesting (i.e., charming, engrossing, compelling) story to keep the reader coming back hour-after-hour, page-after-page.

Don't try to be the boss guy in the corner office, ticking down the list of writing do's and don'ts, convinced you've got all the literary bases covered, when in fact your work is an eye-glazing snoozer.

To succeed as a fiction writer, you gotta project style, character, personality. Charisma...cool.

Cool? Oh God, you say, now I gotta be cool? Me in my ratty sweats, flip-flops, cheap readers, and a bad haircut?

Okay, not you...your work. Your words. Your story.

No guarantee you'll gain any cool points but here's a plug for my class with the Lawson Writer's Academy.
Fang It to Me; Writing Vampires, Fantasy, and the How-to's of World-building.
June 4-29, 2012. For you, my friend, only $30

Wait! There's more!

How about a cemetery's worth of undead charisma for only $2.99? The you're in luck with the Kindle version of Jailbait Zombie, now on sale.

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Ain't that the truth! Charisma is like art -- you may not be able to define it, but you know it when you see it.

I call it the "beating heart" of a story. Without a beating heart, your story is dead. When I do author workshops and tell kids this, they all chirp up with "What about zombies?" and "What about vampires?" I tell them to get off my lawn.
Bonnie: Ha,ha,ha! Am-scray!
Oh-h-h, love charisma. According to Olivia Fox Cabane, and her new book The Charisma Myth, it is a skill which you can learn. Or, at least lean toward. Good book. I know that Olivia's suggestions can help ease face-to-face contact, but you have given me something to think about – including charisma in writing. Thanks!
Julie: Who doesn't love charisma? A smile is important. Thanks for the tip on the book. Will check it out.
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