Sunday, February 15, 2015

Make Readers Care by Lisa Trovillion

Ideas.  Where do they come from? I maintain that all creative ideas spring from one’s own experience. Whether you are a writer who dreams up imaginary worlds full of fanciful creatures and apocalyptic events, or a writer who drops characters into a precise historical setting, the story you create comes in part from your own experience.  What we hope to do as writers is make the reader care. Care about something! In order to do that, you have to reach down inside and find that thing--maybe hiding in a dark corner of your memory--and drag it out for all to see.  It can be hard. It can be embarrassing.  Maybe even a bit painful.  But if we’re committed to making others care, we have to rely in some measure on our own truest emotions and experiences. And that doesn’t necessarily have to mean unpleasant experience. There are writers who lift us up, make us laugh, give us a sense of hope and inspiration. But to do so they are still stirring the embers of their past experiences, no doubt.  So now, while reading a book, I often wonder how much of it was “true” for the writer.  I suspect it was the portions that touched me the most.  How much of your novel is true?  How “true” is your story and where do your ideas come from?  Below, a picture of my Oldenburg mare, Dorrie, pondering whether she'll feature in my next novel. 

1 comment:

  1. Lisa - I totally agree with you. For me, the enjoyment in reading fiction (and to some extent non-fiction) comes in caring about the characters, and experiencing the emotions that they feel. I rarely read plot-driven, or action novels, unless the characters are brought to life and make me actually feel something. And this is where the author has to dig deep and often bring up emotions that yes, perhaps they were also acquainted with. Good fiction does make the reader feel, and most good writing pulls from the recesses of the author's own experiences, I think. (Dorrie is lovely, by the way!)