Welcome back folks, no time for much preamble as we have a score to settle here!
I told you I was writing and I wasn’t lying when I said that either. Now, in our little writers group we had a little debate. See, when you write, there are two things you need to know very well:
One is what you – as a writer want to accomplish. What do you want happening in that chapter you write? What do you want to show the reader? How are you going to move your story forward?
The other thing you need to know is what does your character want. What does she want to accomplish?
Without knowing that, precious time might be awasting… You might write some really nicely crafted paragraphs that would amount to not much more than fluff.
Now, we all read Stephen king, and if you didn’t, I suggest you get going! And we know that the most important person related to a story is – The reader.
And so, the question was raised – should we not think about the reader?
But of course! We most definitely should. Otherwise, we might as well write a nice journal. You know.
“Woke up this morning at 6:34 am, brushed my teeth and ate half a piece of toast with my primrose teas.”
Yup, the kind only we would ever read.
But here’s the thing.
You can control your character – after all, you created the little bugger.
You can control your story – You – and only you – should know what you’re going to tell.
You absolutely cannot. Repeat – cannot, control the reader. Nor should you. You’re (hopefully) not a control freak! The reader will read your story and feel whatever the hell she does.
You can use many devices and stylistic measures to “nudge” the readers in the direction you think they should go. There’s a lot to be said about settings, dialogue, dramatic irony and whatnot. But that is all you can do.
You can’t seriously believe your role as a writer is to tell the reader what to think and how to feel, can you? Cause if you do, here’s a suggestion. write a paragraph before every chapter with directions.
“In this next chapter, I’d like you to be afraid. Be very afraid! Bwahahhaha!”
Seriously now, as the irritatingly popular song goes – Let it go, let it go.
It’s your story until it’s the readers’ story.
Consider this – before you publish – If you’d like to set a mood, it’s up to you to write it that way. Once you have. You did your part. Now the reader didn’t tell you what to do, right? So don’t tell her. She knows. Just write your damn story already! Keep the reader in mind when you decide how to tell it, but for the love of Isaac, let it go.
So there we are. I had my say. Now while I go on writing in the free world, feel free to tell me what you think. There’s a nice little comments box right here.