I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What’s expected of me? As a reader what do I expect of an author?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been reading and telling tales. One day I began to look at the words in the books I read. Studying them, seeing how they worked or didn’t. Playing the ‘what if’ game. What if the author had done this instead of that? What if a simple thought or character trait was expanded? With books like Gone With The Wind I wondered what happens after I close the cover. All those things, all those words inspired me to keep reading. Inspired me to continue telling my own tales. Inspired me to think in a different way, to reach beyond my tiny world.
Toss that one in the job description box.
We know nonfiction books are meant to educate, but what about fiction? Without Bertrice Small I would have never passed history. My English teacher saw I was struggling and knew how to reach me. She handed me Skye O’Malley, little did I know I’d been tricked. The book was full of historical people, places and events. How the author used them captured my attention and made me want to know more. Gee, who’d a thunk a romance could teach history?
We can add educate to the box.
Everyone wants to be heard. I’m no exception. In the course of events, my personal opinion will leak through. It’s nearly impossible to sever all your thoughts and opinions. I try to rein them in, stay in the context of the story and characters. I hate books masquerading as fiction that are vehicles to push an author’s views down my throat. The last thing I want is to be enjoying a book and have it suddenly veer off into a diatribe about something that reeks of an author vent.
How many of you out there give a tiny rat’s patootie about what I think of something like politics or religion? Yes, we want to be heard but let’s not be selfish or bully people into seeing things our way. I believe being truly ‘heard’ is a perk.
This brings us to what I feel is the most important part of the job of writing. I don’t know about you, but entertainment is the main reason I read fiction. I want to laugh and cry with the characters. I want to fear for their lives and sanity during the journey. I want to feel their pain and celebrate with them when they reach their goal. I want a grand adventure all from the safety of my world.
I guess that sums it up in a nice little package. Inspire, educate and to a larger degree, entertain.
Disagree with me? Think I missed something important? Don’t be afraid to let me know.