According to Sol Stein, author of “Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies”, the reader most wants:
“….an experience different from and richer than what he daily abides in life.”
That’s strikes me as a pretty tall order.
Now this got me to thinking about the meaning of “abiding”. The most common meaning of the word is something that endures for a long time. So what you are abiding in your daily life is what you experience as typical, normal, or average over the long haul.
But “abiding” also has overtones of enduring, putting up with, perhaps even a tinge of “long-sufferingness”. (Oh – a new word created by me!!)
So a good work of fiction should help create a feeling or experience in you that is different from your life, and hopefully “richer”. To relieve you from the sameness of your every day routine. Perhaps something novel (pardon the pun). Something you haven’t thought about or felt before. Maybe a deeper emotion. A more joyous happiness, a greater poignancy in your sadness, a more expansive sense of hope.
In the past few years I’ve developed an appreciation of romance novels. I read them for many reasons, but one is that they inspire me to give free rein to my passion in all its’ many forms. And I love the emotional variety of the characters. I like to “try on” being inside their minds and hearts. So a good romance novel creates a new experience in me of both richness and difference.
Stein’s words have given me “fresh eyes” as I continue with writing the story of my character Terri. Terri’s central journey involves her undergoing a transformation from doubt to trust. Trust in herself, trust in her friends, and trust in spirit.
I’m wondering how reading her story might increase the richness of your life. What horizons would you like to be opened to you? If and when (hopefully!) you read our novel, how would you like to feel when you are finished?
I’m so full of questions today! I’d love to hear your answers.
Photo credit: JPott via Flickr