Good morning (again) from upstate New York’s chilly (24F/ -4C overnight) Catskills:
Days from publication, I was re-reading parts of Distances in paperback last night. (I’m not entirely sure why: I’m not changing anything at this point!) As I’ve said before, I do find there is some intangible difference between following a novel on paper as opposed to on a screen. A paperback is a better read in some ways, while the ebook is in others, and I have found that again.
Having done it three times now, I find wrapping up a novel to be an emotional letdown as well. It marks an end of a long journey. There was a time that there was NOTHING on the page, and that seems such a long time ago now.
I cannot count the hours, days, weeks, and months, spent producing it. I cannot even begin to detail the intellectual struggles that went into crafting what’s on the pages, although of course I do share some of those on here from time to time.
I feel a novel should never read as if it was a struggle at times to write. It should flow. All of the dialogue, multiple happenings, layers, settings, and description, if it reads well, and readers stay with you, you’ve achieved your Number 1 goal as an author: satisfying your readers.
A novel should introduce us to people we otherwise would never have known – some of whom we’ll like, and some we won’t. Characters only resonate (positive or negative) if we as readers identify with them on some level. If the aim is to reproduce real life, their lives must be messy at times, because real life is.
A novel should also take us away. It may not always be “fun” reading, but it should place us in settings we ourselves may not have experienced first-hand. It should challenge us. It should open our eyes a bit wider to the world.
All that said, I feel firmly that above all we should enjoy the read.
Hope you’re having a good Monday. 🙂