I was recently asked, what do I want readers to come away with after they read my book?
Well, first of all, I’m thrilled readers read my books.
That is the point, isn’t it? To write words, stories, and put them out in a place where people can read them?
I know people who write entire books only to tuck them away in neat little coffins under their beds, never to show them to another living soul. While I greatly admire their ability to actually create and FINISH an entire book, (something I struggled with for a long time), I don’t fully understand this impulse to Never Show Another Soul. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of writing something down? Isn’t the written word meant to be read? If not, then why write it?
I mean, I do understand that some people have a very deep fear of being ridiculed for the work they have poured their soul into. Fear can be very powerful.
And I also understand that writing is a learning process for the writer, and there are some books that should probably stay under the bed as far as” prime time” is concerned.
But writing is a learning process, so eventually, these things must see the light of day and actually be read- by someone, at some point. (Showing it to other writers is sometimes a good place to start). That is the only way to know how good, or how bad, they really are. And to create the opportunity to actually become a better writer- to learn what you could have done better, then try it.
I’ve written stories since I was a child. I knew that someday, I’d write a book. I tucked that dream under my bed and it nearly died in its neat little coffin, buried under the weight of daily life ticking away in years. Luckily it revived and reminded me it was there. One thing about this dream, though. It was always to write a book so people would read it.
Maybe it’s more natural for me to take this view of writing because I have a performer gene. I have a bit of musical talent, for both singing and playing an instrument, which I’ve gone to some trouble to cultivate. So the idea of getting up in front of an audience and displaying (exposing) my talent (or lack thereof) is something I’ve always accepted as part of the “artistic talent” deal.
And writing is a lot like music. Music must be played, it must be heard. Writing is meant to be read. It’s part of the definition of the thing itself.
When someone reads the words I write, the words become more than arbitrary ink marks on white paper. A whole world, a whole reality, springs to life in the reader’s mind. Directly from mine.
Stephen King talks about this kind of amazing connection between the writer and the reader that completes the circuit of telling the story. Like a live wire, always waiting to make contact. The reader can experience this shared reality regardless of the distance of space and time between them and the writer. The words are the notes, music waiting to be played. Written to be heard.
I write so people can read what I wrote. I write for you, the reader.
And the answer to the original question is I hope you, my reader, come away with a combination of what I put into my book when I wrote it and what you bring to the book when you read it. That you find something that rings emotionally true to you in the story. I hope it makes you smile and I hope it makes you want to read another one!