- Do you consider yourself more intelligent than most of the stories and novels you read?
- Do you believe contemporary fiction is sort of beneath you in terms of intellectual attainment?
- Do you figure your readers - when you get them - will be dumb compared to you?
- Do you revel in Proust, adore T.S Eliot, think there has never been a really great American novelist, and sneer at everything in the popular magazines and best-sellers lists?
Thank the Lord - this does not encompass the readers and one would hope the writers of category romance. Such a person would be very boring indeed. Not to mention pretentious and unbearable.
The part I truly love is when he says "Wouldn't it be a lot better not to consider yourself so smart? To try to figure out what contemporary readers like - then to work to give them the best stories of that type they ever read?"
AMEN MR. BICKHAM!
Sometimes as we're writing, we get so caught up in the story that we forget who we're writing for. We're not writing for just ourselves anymore, or even for our editor (though she must be pleased with our work or else it goes no further! LOL). In the most basic sense, we're writing for our readers. Our readers are our lifeblood. Our readers are the ones that send us e-mail about our books both good and bad - and one would hope for the good. So it follows that as we are writing we should be focusing on giving our readers the best of us, the best story we can possibly deliver.
I knew I was going to enjoy this book when I read on down the page and saw this: "...fiction does not come from the head; it comes from the heart...Bigness of heart - compassion - is far more important than bigness of IQ."
Oh happy sigh.
The point is, you should never condescend to your reader. It smacks of arrogance and a certain bit of closed minded-ness. You don't have to be a genius to write good fiction - you just have to be caring, and you have to be willing to show that on the page. Good stories are the ones that have more than ideas on the page - they have SOUL.
He ends the section with a series of reminders to keep writers grounded. My favourite two?
NEVER WRITE DOWN TO YOUR READERS
COME DOWN TO EARTH! THAT'S WHERE THE READERS ARE.
Donna's newest release will be available on eharlequin and the Mills and Boon site beginning October 1. A Bride For Rocking H Ranch is part of Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage (Mistletoe and Marriage in the UK) and includes a sexy chef, a cowgirl, and Christmas. What more could you want?
You can read an excerpt at http://www.donnaalward.com/