As most of us writers do I’m always reading articles to improve my craft. There was one particular that has persistently stuck in the back of my mind when I think about this business called writing. Randall Silvis once wrote, “When was the last time you read something and thought, gee I didn’t know that about the human condition…for any reader with a few books under his belt and access to the nightly news, there is little in this world that can truly surprise us.”
While that statement may be true, as a writer with an over active imagination I feel that to take it to heart would be a sell out to my readers. How many times are we going to read the same ole story? When we pick up those books, aren’t we secretly hoping there will be something new inside those pages? Something a little different? Something that brings back that child like wonder and makes us rethink the world? Don’t we as writers owe it to our readers to raise the bar every time we put pen to paper? Stephanie Meyer sucked us in not with just a love story but with a slightly different twist on the age old vampire and werewolf’s tale. We stood in line for Harry Potter because we’d never been in a world quite like that before. When I sit down to write Synarchy I want to pull back the veil on the world you think you live in and show it to you through a new set of eyes. I want to squeeze your heart, and hurt your brain, and make you ponder the real possibility of practical magic.Fiction should engage our minds and our hearts. Sure, as readers we can be lazy. Sure, we pick up books to leave the real world behind. We read sometimes to be the hero we can’t be in the real world, to have that adventure we think we’ll never take in this lifetime. But, in all the fantastic worlds we’ve visited shouldn’t the most memorable leave us with some clue as to how to draw that very magic into our own lives?
Nathan Bransford once wrote on his blog that telling stories is how writers make sense of the world. He’s right. We can get so bogged down in following the rules, striving only to write what we know, to be mainstream, to be commercial, to fit into that genre that we forget to just let our imaginations go.
I was driving with a friend one day, and we’re zooming down the highway listening to music, and I see this long wire stretched out across the highway. It’s between two poles and in all honesty was probably an electrical or telephone wire or something of the sort. It caught my attention because as those things go it was fairly low. And I remember that my first thought when I gazed upon that wire, was that if a Giant was walking by he might trip. I mean c’mon, what if the mean people of Bergen County purposefully put that wire there specifically for that Giant because he’s a thing of myth and his very existence challenges their normal? We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us…
Do you see? Who else but a writer with an over active imagination could look at something so mundane as a telephone or electrical wire and make it magical? That’s why our readers come to us. When they look at a table, they see a table. When we look at a table, we see a portal to another world that can only be activated when the first generation of the Meyer family sits around it, joins hands and thanks spirit for everything they’ve been given.
We should never stop striving to change the world, to make it as we want to be; magical creations, beautiful reflections of our heartfelt, childlike desires. When our fiction no longer inspires us to keep dreaming, intending, creating, what are we reading it for? I say as writers, let’s keep trying to raise the bar. Our fans should expect nothing less.
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DCS is the author of The Synarchy Series which includes The Awakening Book 1 and The Ascension Book 2. You can listen to The Ascension read by professional voice actors every Thursday Night. Her radio show, In The Mind of DCS, runs every Thursday evening at 8pm CST on the Public Service Network. Currently sucking up the creative energy of New Orleans, she is hard at work at the next book in the Synarchy Series, The Answer due out in May of 2012. Visit her website to learn more. You can also follow her on facebook, and check out her books on Amazon.com.