We went to church early today. So this post I know is later than usual for me. But, eh, it is a Sunday…
Anyway, this tweet got my attention recently:
I point that out here because it is only one of some similar tweets I have seen lately. I tweeted back:
Occasionally I get feedback by email, or by private message, about my books.
One of my more memorable was offered to me in 2016 by an English poet. A mutual friend had asked me if I could help her produce – technically-wise – a short book for the Kindle. Although we never saw each other in person, I set it up in basic format for her and showed her the process (as she was not into computers), and she took it from there and in the end produced a nice book.
Some months later, she surprised me when she texted me and said she had bought and read Passports…
She told me that of all of the characters, she liked “Mark” the best. (Incidentally, I took that photo above of lower Manhattan exactly 29 years ago today, on January 12, 1991.) Her personal take intrigued me as I recalled what “Mark” had been in terms of character. There is definitely, I suppose, much to like about him.
Here on my blog not long after, I had also written on how I seemed to have many more women readers than men. As I had heard it from a couple of women, I conjectured that one draw might be the women characters. I had also remembered Scott Fitzgerald (yes, yes, him again for a moment) blaming The Great Gatsby’s weak initial sales on the lack – in his view – of an admirable woman character and most of his readers were women.
However, a male commenter disagreed. I cannot recall that exact post, but he had offered a view I had not considered. He believed that I may also have so many women readers because I write men they like.
Only we as readers know truly what draws us to a book. Once we have it, we all see it differently. That is one major thing as a writer I have come to learn: “five” people can read the same exact passage and each will come away with a takeaway uniquely theirs and perhaps even one I had never much considered.
Who knows? We all get conflicting advice as authors, so all we can do is try to be ourselves. Following Passports and its two sequels was Conventions: The Garden At Paris, and now there is the new Tomorrow The Grace:
What really led to this post was I had happened yesterday also to stumble on this thought from author Dean Koontz:
1/ Everything I believe about life and death, culture and society, relationships and the self, God and nature–every… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Dean Koontz (@deankoontz) January 06, 2020
Indeed I could only but think how that is spot on. As a writer, we may well end up calling upon pretty much everything we are. If we don’t resist doing so, our uniqueness will create originality on our pages… and readers may then each separately perhaps see on those pages what is unique to them too. 😉
On that note, have a uniquely great day. 🙂