I don’t mean to say this as a blanket statement. There are reasons why Sparks’ books do so well. He speaks to people. His themes are overarching. His books hold transcendence. His success speaks to his abilities.
When I was at the Pikes Peak Writing Conference in April, Don Maass gave a seminar about his new writing manual and he touched on The Fire in Fiction (my writing Bible); he asked the class of about 200 people: “What’s a new emotion in your life? In the past year?”
For me, that emotion is satisfaction with my success. I wrote a novel, found a publisher, and my novel has been well received by most readers. And with it came new feelings, new awareness. To feel like it’s all worth it: the hours I’ve spent reading, researching, creating: it came to fruition and now I have this work and people are appreciating it. I set out to honor my family by telling their story.
But what can this emotion teach me about writing? Self-discovery. Self-awareness. How can I relay it? By creating characters that must work to realize who they are.
Lady Gaga recently said that she has found that she is in a constant state of transformation. That sounds exhausting but, as writers, we need to ensure that the novel is constantly evolving in order to hook and maintain its audience. To ensure success, you must be mindful of your readers.
Don Maass then asked: “What kind of ghost do we leave behind in the minds of our readers?”
I want to be a reminder of the greatness of youth, of bravery, of the inspiring nature of words. I want my novels to build bridges and to lead people back to where they need to be (a lofty goal, to be sure). I want to murder and create and make new paths. Simultaneously, I think there is a difference between knowing that you have an audience and trying to write books that for the purpose of being a commercial success. I’m not writing for a paycheck. I write because I know no better way to be myself.
So here are my questions: What’s a new emotion for you? How can you infuse it into your work? Why are you writing in the first place? How does that help your audience latch onto your work?
image credit: everythingsright.com