Sunday, June 1, 2014

Your Reader and Your Story

Many readers deal daily with backbreaking issues—emotional hunger, decline of income, reduced leisure time, lost loves, marriage/family/relationship breakdown. Worries about the planet, war, espionage, terrorism, cyberwarfare—a zillion fears of the "What Ifs " that lurk around the corner.

In make-believe pages men and women seek comfort, solace—a little while of feel-good-ness.

Readers sense the almost-close-to-touch dangers—to self, family, home, loved ones, the soil, the air, the gifts from the sea, birds, insects, animals, the human unborns.

Book business people sense an increased hunger for stories that make the reader feel a little more loved, safer. A happy ending, defeat of evils, triumph of love and forgiveness, a kiss from the printed word.

Many readers of our stories are not highly educated, professional types, people with lives of ease and comfort, with stable relationships, big nest eggs safe in bank vaults. Man face daily despair, medical problems, impending loss of sense and memory, in self or loved ones.

Round-the-clock TV noise that clamors with crime, loss, fear—drives many to grab hold of a book or tablet of words—a few minutes of comfort, an injection of happiness and negation of the human lot of loneliness.

A storyteller shares, briefly, his craft of make-believe—to comfort other human beings. Allows the reader to inhabit another life, find solace—if only for minutes.

Writers share their within worlds. Tellers of stories travel to a place few others know, then give that gift back.

A recent post in the Dorothy L Digest caught my eye: "Writers need a thick skin and a thin skin. A thick skin to survive rejection, oblivion and all the other insults and injuries that come with the territory. A thin skin because we have to be super-sensitive in order to feel our characters' … miseries, empathize with them."

In today's global spin there is an almost divine impulse in the creation and exchange of fiction. A very heavy burden and exchange between a writer and a reader.

As writers of stories we may well ask, are we up to the challenge?

Thelma J. Straw


  1. Very thoughtful, Thelma. We all hope we'll touch the reader with what we've written in someway--at least to give them a few hours in another place.

  2. Thanks, Marilyn. I like that... a few hours in another place... tjs

  3. Thelma, in this short post you have captured enough information about writing and reader relationship that is worthy of a book. This is a real gem.

  4. Thank you, Margaret. I feel strongly about the topic, especially this time when the world is in such upheaval in so many lands. I feel we need to think more than most of us do about who the reader of our precious pages might be. tjs

  5. That was such a great post, Thelma. It said something that I as a writer and a reader take for granted. It gave me a lot to think about.
    Barbara Bent

    1. Thanks so much, Barbara. I answered this last night but it did not get posted... tjs

  6. Thanks for your kind words, Barbara. The topic gives me thought daily... tjs