When readers encounter my work, I want them to feel like they have enjoyed the excursion at the end. I want them to have laughed, to have considered something they’d never thought of before, to maybe admire me a little bit (to be perfectly honest. Honesty never hurts, right?) I also want people to feel connected to the things I’m saying in a way they hadn’t previously been before. I don’t want people to leave sadder, or unfulfilled. Maybe a wholeness that they had never really possessed before reading will worm its way inside their hearts. I want them to leave happy and content. Slightly in awe at the wonder of creation, and of interaction, and of how things work together, when they do.
I don’t believe in circumstance. I’m a firm believer that things are fated to be. I know others may disagree with me, but let them write their own novels. I can’t possibly be nihilistic in my writing, even though there are occasions where I may write about a depressing topic, or find myself in an unlucky or unhappy situation, because I truly believe, with all my heart, that All things work together for good (Romans 8:28). I don’t know what I feel about God one way or the other, but I believe that a higher purpose governs the actions and reactions of everything in the universe. It is how I make sense of things: like a ripple. Maybe this is why, when I was 14, Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” had such a huge effect on me. It examines the consequences of our actions via the butterfly effect, how the entire course of history might be changed by the smallest action of a single person.
The goals of my writing is to enlighten, to expound, to move, thrill, and to cause the reader to consider new ideas. Above all, it has to entertain you. If the reader falls asleep in the first chapter, I’m done for. It’s the best alternative I can hope, ultimately, and I’ve got to work from these ground rules. I truly have nowhere else to point myself.
For the longest time, I was concerned that imposing a structure on a work would stifle the creative spirit, and crush my liberty. In smaller literary forms like poetry, I’ve come to realize that it does exactly the opposite. When I write a poem – I have to have a device to hold the piece together: an 8-line stanza, or a rhyming couplet at the end of each stanza, sonnet form, alliteration. These devices don’t confine me but cause me to think about my words. If this is true for poetry, it must be even more true for novel-length works (which ultimately are my writing goal), where writing 150,000 words isn’t unthinkable, and stasis is the killer of a good story. I’ve got to write within the confines of a good structure, and I feel I’m finally ready to do that: to apply all the writing tools I’ve acquired and assemble a work of greater length than short fiction. I think it’s what I’ve been lacking: I have the words; I couldn’t find the forward motion to drive a story. Wish me luck. I’ll keep you updated, and will be posting my writing thoughts in a different area so as not to bore you all.
Thanks, Susan and Dawn for all your recent encouragement, helping me to realize I have the potential and just need to find the direction.