Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Weepies

Hey there! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m glad you decided to stop by. Always makes my day brighter, knowing you’re here.*

This month, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in good writing, and how we, as writers, can use those things to mold the stories we write. I’m not suggesting that we write to market, that we should bend our writing style to fit what the current market is looking for—on the contrary, I’m suggesting that we grow our writing potential, using the things readers are looking for in fiction. I’m suggesting that we grow as writers in general, honestly.

#6: Stories that make you cry

Readers love being brought to tears by the books they read. It makes us sound a little strange, but it’s true. We love to feel emotion, and to be brought into that emotion via the things we’re reading. It’s one of the reasons why we read, why we long for story. We long for emotion.

For my own reading, I love finding a new book that makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time. I love falling in love, alongside a character. I love crying with them when they’re in pain (and I hate crying, so that’s really saying something). I love every bit of emotion that grows from story, and it’s one of the things I always look for in fiction. Always.

Have you ever heard the saying, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader?” It’s true. I’ve noticed it, when my beta readers read my work. If I’m trying to write an emotional scene and I don’t feel that emotion myself, my readers won’t feel it either.

So in order to write the type of gripping and moving stories that really get to our readers, we have to let our stories get to us, too. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.

Living in that kind of an emotional rollercoaster is just as difficult as it sounds. It’s like living multiple lives at the same time, and it’s one of the many reasons why writers so often struggle with our own emotions. It’s why we sometimes have difficulty separating ourselves from our works, and why it’s so difficult for us when people don’t love our work as much as we do.

But you know what?

It’s also what makes us pretty amazing, because it’s not just anyone who can live that many lives, who can experience that level of emotion over and over again, and stand up tall even when we don’t want to, just so people can read what we’ve written.

You’re pretty special, if you’re a writer.

You can make people cry, you can make them feel things they’ve never felt before.

Never forget that, okay?


{Rani Divine}

* I’m serious, when I say things like that. I know from my end you might think you're little more than a number on a screen, unless you leave me a comment—but just seeing those numbers, just knowing you’re out there, experiencing life at the same time as me, is really amazing. I love you. All of you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Shout it out

Hello, friends! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m glad you stopped by for today’s post. All month long, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in the things they read, and discussing how we can apply those things to our own works of fiction. After all, we’re writing a story that someone will read, so we ought to make stories which those people love.

Thus far in the series, we’ve talked a bit about characters, about stories that make us really think (and maybe even learn something), and about the stories that make us feel, in a way we’ve never felt before. These are things that readers love in stories, things that readers look for, long for. But there’s more than just that.

#5: Stories that make you scream

I mean this in a couple different ways, of course.

For you horror writers, I mean this in the way you think I mean it. Readers are looking for a story that will make them scream out loud, close the book, but be too enthralled by the story to put it down for very long.

But for the rest of us, this is also a key point. Many readers look for tough stories, stories that make us so frustrated that we can’t help but scream.

And that’s what I really want to talk about today.

See, this is a lesson I actually need to learn. I hate writing stories like this, with frustrating characters or plot lines that annoy me to the point that I just want to scream. But I know a great many readers who love those stories, and so I really do try my best to write them. The editing process isn’t so fun on those, either.

Sometimes, we readers get the most out of the books we read when they frustrate us to the point of screaming. Those are the books we remember, the stories we can’t get enough of. Those are the ones that mean the most to us, the ones that have really made us feel, made us think.

All because of a bit of frustration.

But how do we, as writers, achieve this?

I’m still figuring that out, in some ways. Really, it’s all about making characters and storylines that, in many ways, frustrate us as well. It’s about making sure our characters make enough wrong decisions that sometimes don’t make any sense at all—all for the betterment of the story, and so when our protagonist wins in the end, it actually means something.

We writers tend to forget the number of bad decisions that happen in real life, and don’t write them into our stories. But really, bad decisions are what make people what they are. We learn through bad decisions. So our characters should, as well. Even when those decisions are stupid and we hate writing them, even when we find ourselves hating that we’re putting our characters through them. 

That's what readers are looking for, because it's more real than the average book. 

It’s just making art imitate life, a little better than usual.


{Rani Divine}

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Feel the Force

Happy Thursday, everyone! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m glad you’re here. It’s really not the same without you.

This month, we’ve been talking about the things that readers are looking for when it comes to good fiction. We’ve spent some time talking about characters, both the good and the evil, and also about the stories that really make us think. So, now, I have a bit of a logical progression for us (because we all know how fond I am of logic).

#4: Plots That Make You Feel

Again, this isn’t always easy to do. It’s something that I’ve struggled with, from time to time, but something that my readers have adored when I’ve gotten it right.

After all, how much do you love a story that moves you to tears? (in a good way, not like Where the Red Fern Grows) How many times have you reread those stories that give you those nostalgia tears? How often do you find yourself thinking about those stories, relating back to them, linking yourself with those characters?

Exactly why that’s what we should be writing.

Readers are always looking for a way to connect themselves to our stories, to attach themselves to our characters, to become them, in a way. But while the characters help in creating this, it’s the plots that really drive the point forward.

We love a story where a character redeems themselves, in a way that moves us to tears. We love reading and living in a world where our most beloved character finally receives what they’ve been looking for, only to have it ripped from under them in a single instant. We adore reading those stories where our beloved ones reach their goal, only for their lives to end before our eyes.

Yeesh. You’d think we were a bunch of crazy people.

But really, we love when we get so connected to a story, to a plot and a character within it, that we can’t give up on it. That we feel everything they feel, that we live their lives for the term of the book in our hands.

That’s what we’re always hoping for, when we pick up a new book to read. That’s what we all desire.

And that’s what we, as writers, need to give to our readers. Always.

Remember: no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. So don’t be afraid to get so attached yourself. It really helps.


{Rani Divine}