Looking for Writers…
I want to thank everyone who commented on the last post. Very informative to see how different we are all. Isn’t that the point of being an individual? Most things that are written do not hold my interest. But the few things that hold my interest, I devour. I cannot get enough of some books, to the point that they consume me and occupy my every thought. Can there be any higher praise for the author? All images are from Yahoo.
Watching my friend, the real Capt. Bill Rimes pour over the Di Vinci Code was probably the highest praise that Dan Brown could ever dream of. To be honest, I do not know if Billy would have been so enthralled with the book had we not been held captive living on a military base in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert. To be honest, I would not care. I would accept the praise in any form.
As a writer, I work with a central reader in mind. This ideal reader is my toughest critic. This reader knows more than I do about everything. This reader has read everything and demands to be transported to another world. They do not want entertainment; they can find that from the History Channel or a football game. They want to be inspired, they want to dive in-between the lines and see the meaning behind the meaning. Every word has a twin purpose, the overt and the covert.
This reader wants twin stories. The one that most people get and the secret deep meaning that the most discriminating reader will find. This reader doesn’t want a love story, but there should be a hint of potential romance. This reader doesn’t want a profanity laced drama, but intelligent writing that creatively expresses emotion without using any of the vile language. This reader doesn’t want a military thriller, a political thriller, a mystery, a crime novel, a historical thriller, an aviation themed novel, or a spy novel. They want it all rolled into a single work spiced with a hint of a religious meaning. This novel should never feel preachy, just illustrate some basic concepts of a life well lived.
The protagonist should not be a person who is simple and has only one issue to overcome. No, that is the easy way out, this character should be someone whose life has been completely tossed upside down and has no chance of regaining their past life. They should be someone who has lost everything completely and their only chance for success is to embrace a new life. They are not totally good, and they will never be. Instead they are totally human, totally flawed but always working to better themselves.
The antagonist should be a person who is evil. They should be a person who in many ways is the equal of the protagonist but they have all of the advantages. However, they should not be totally evil, they should have redeeming qualities and have moments of goodness. In a word, they also should be human.
My ideal reader expects me to make bold statements within my work. They expect that I will set the stage for a great adventure and then they expect me to over deliver. They demand a yarn that tickles their imagination, a crisis that touches their most basic fears, and a solution that equally feels wrong and right. This ending is consistent within the terms of the rules set forth in the beginning of the novel but those rules let the reader wanting more vengeance while understanding that justice will always prevail.
Finally this reader expects the escape to be memorable, death defying but ultimately the protagonist should fail. Have you ever seen that before? I have not, therefore it should happen. The good guys get caught in their escape attempt because the other side has competent people as well. The ending should be different, full of twists, turns, ups and downs.
You may have guessed the identity of ideal reader. Yes, it is me. I will demand more of myself than I would of any other author. I am not out to write a bestseller. I am not out to write a book that appeals to the masses. I am out to write the best book that I could ever read. Note that I did not say perfect, I said best because perfection is an illusion. It does not exist in reality and if my book is based on reality with human characters then perfection is not attainable. I don’t want a perfect book; I want the best book I have ever read.
That is my goal as a writer. I aim to please me. If the rest of the world gets it, then I will be happy. But if no one except me gets it, my goal will have been achieved. But I believe in me and I believe that if I am impressed, then so will the publishing world. And monetary success will follow.
What is your goal as a writer? Who is your idea reader? How do you keep them in your focus as you write?