I spend a couple hours a day surfing the Internet looking for articles, opportunities, and information on the book and publishing industry. I find articles on marketing, promotions, events, etc. It’s all great to know and I love the learning, but I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t more pieces on the actual reason we write for the public.
The industry organizations focus on style, technique, and skill. Those things are crucial to what we do and our potential for success, but recently I have found that there is something dramatically missing from what aspiring authors are being taught. It’s about entertainment. That’s right, you heard me. We write books to entertain readers. Did you forget that? Our goal should be to make readers feel something…to laugh, to cry, to shiver in eerie expectancy.
I have read several books lately that, while technically sound, they did not even remotely entertain me. The authors’ overall performances were stale and one-dimensional.
Look at it from the angle of someone watching a movie. We go to the theater or rent DVD’s because we thrive on the multi-dimensional aspects of the film. We cringe at the sound of a bone crunching punch. We sigh in anticipation along with lovers on the brink of embracing passionately. We escape into the action for that amount of time.
It should be the same with books. Readers pick up novels looking for something different, a diversion. Why isn’t that as important to writers as it used to be?
Next time you sit down to write, consider this: You are an acting troupe. You are the writer, the director, and the actors. Put yourself into this setting and utilize the skills and demands of each role to increase the impact and presentation of your work.
As the writer, make certain your words are skillfully presented. Hone your grammatical and technical skills to perfection and you will eliminate the potential for distraction.
As the director, consider each and every action and ensure the proper level of reaction. Take extra care to ensure that everything happens for a reason and be the guiding hand in leading your actors through their performances.
As the actors, and this is most important, immerse yourself into each character’s role. Be the character as you write. Play the scenes over and over in your mind, rehearsing them until you are living them. Then, and only then will you present your audience with a stellar and Oscar worthy performance.
One thing you must always remember is that you are writing for the reader. They are your audience and if you desire them to offer their loyalty and money to you on future performances, you must always cater to them. For, without readers, you have no job as an author.