The photo above stirs an interesting topic.
Deep down, the reader is not the only one who needs to be intrigued, compelled, inspired, and emboldened on a character's journey.
A great writer can not only craft words to help the reader desire to take this journey, but also help himself to reveal this character's journey then next and the next.
Unless the writer is totally, completely, 100% captured by the story--ready to grab a tissue and bawl, laugh out loud, scream at the jerk, require medical treatment because the pain felt by the character seems so real--the reader won't be. And the reader wants to!
I sat down at my computer three days ago and opened a completed manuscript. The first layers of dust had accumulated, which made it ripe for a new reading.
The story is in the hands of an editor, but I--I thought about the MC, and although I knew her story, I just wanted to read it again.
Not for editing.
But just because the characters and their journey gave me pleasure.
I wondered if I would feel the same after I brushed away the dust. Would I still, dare I say, love this story after giving my heart to a new WIP?
I opened the document and began to read aloud to myself. Hmmm. Yes, I thought, the beginning is good.
The writer in me popped out, tweaking a word or two as I laughed at the jokes and became anxious with MC. Her journey was so very difficult. A paragraph didn't feel exactly right so I rewrote it. Yes, I thought. This is what would have happened. This is more what MC thought and said.
I pictured the scenes and lamented with MC during the harsh and difficult times. The sting of MC's pain pricked me. Her disappointments saddened me. And because the reading out loud sucked me into the setting, I wondered again, would she survive?
The cohesiveness of the story meshed together like a finely woven tapestry. If any story ever had a chance to impact readers as it did MC, this was the one.
I found myself unwilling to tear my eyes away from the page. Could the laundry wait five more minutes? MC is hurting. I need to walk with her. I didn't even dare to refill my coffee cup.
MC's story, yes, this very journey had become one she could share with others who have had similar experiences. And now, since she has survived to the last page of the book, she can comfort readers with a sincere empathy.
I love this story.
It is more than ink on a page. More than writing rules obeyed. More than writing mechanics.
This is MC's story. A story to be shared. A story to be reread and loved. A story to be experienced by not only readers, but also me--the writer.
And so I challenge you--
Open up a completed manuscript. The work can be published or not. It can be your first completed work or last.
Close your eyes. Think of your stories. Which is the first to bring a smile to your face, (of course all your stories are pleasing, but we are picking one. Only one. ONLY ONE).
What is the title of the story?
Who is MC?
Now, grab these important items:
1. Your favorite beverage
2. Your favorite memory object in your home, can be a pet, knickknack, stuffed animal, photo, etc.
3. Put on comfy clothes
4. Sit in a comfy chair
5. Choose background music that matches the setting or plot of your book...cannot be one with words.
6. You favorite snack: chocolate?
7. Turn off FB, email, any other distractors.
8. Try to be by yourself
The goal: in less than one week, read MC's story out loud to yourself, this is important because it will keep you from scan reading. Include animations.
Slip into the story. Wholly. Feel MC's emotions. Go to MC's home. Eat with MC. Feel warm, cold, wet from rain, filled with the scents of the meadow, forrest, or ocean in MC's setting.
So in love with this story.
It's swirling in your mind.
How did it happen? This beautiful story?
Don't you feel like writing another one? Has a new story idea popped in your head? Are you excited to write more words for your WIP today? Good. Go. Do it.
BUT--BEFORE YOU DO!!!
Please write the name of your chosen story for this challenge and MC's name in the comment section.
Then--when you finish reading your story, come back and tell us how it intrigued,compelled, inspired, and emboldened you, the writer to create another story for readers.
I will start. The story is called: Mist. MC's name is: Liz. My heart is still beating wildly from reading the conclusion.
Your's will, too when you finish yours.
I can't wait to read your comment(s)!
Help others--tweet or FB share this post
Mary writes young adult mystery/suspense, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and tell Bible event stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids. She has finaled in several writing contests.
All subscribers to Mary's newsletter will receive her new short story an intriguing suspense/mystery. Come, read a good story. To get your free gift, sign up for the newsletter at Mary's website or: Join the adventure!