Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Different strokes for different folks

I found out a long time ago that what I like best in fiction is a clever reference or two to things I'm interested in, such as history, literature, art, and music. Books that tick the knowledge box are my thing. I also relate well to solitude, discovery, cynicism and defiance. Knowing what kind of reader you are and what you enjoy makes seeking good reading material easier. A defiant character in a novel full of literature and music references will have me enthralled.

As a writer, understanding what your readers seek is somewhat harder. A 'readership' is made up of a number of different personalities, so how is a writer to know who likes what, and in which combination? If you write within a particular genre, you might have a pretty good handle on the type of aspects readers expect to find. So it is useful to have a mental  - or sticky-noted - list of aspects to tick off as you go.

One side of the list should enumerate tangible, physical, and active notions. These could be a sport, a hobby or interest such as collecting jewellery, an extraordinary ability or disability such as dyslexia, a chase, a booby-trap, a kidnapping, and so forth.

The other side should dwell on the abstract notions. Love, of course, disgust, hatred, envy, compatibility, shyness, ignorance, jealousy, laziness, joy ... the list is inexhaustible.

The fun is linking them up, having a very physical chase through a forest, for example, coupled with the discovery of jealousy. Or the ploughing of a field coupled with thoughts of hatred and repulsion. Or the feeling of exhilaration and bliss when washing dishes in a newly-opened restaurant.

Putting together physical and abstract notions will place the reader in an observer's position, but able to relate to the picture you create, because that, after all, is how life seems to us. A task is generally accompanied by a sentiment, especially if it is a boring one, or a moving one, or one that angers us to tears of frustration.

How do you like your mixes of feelings and action in fiction? If you are an observant reader, you will be able to recount the last one that made you sit up and take notice. If you are a writer, what unusual combination of active and mental notions have you come up with lately?
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  1. Lots of brainstorming food for thought here Rosanne, and very timely for me personally as I am in the throes of plotting 3 series of novels. Making me scratch my head now to find an abstract and a physical active combined in a plot somewhere...hmmm. I'm always seeking new ways to consider or develop plots.

  2. Interesting thoughts Rosanne about reading and writing.I like the idea of coupling action and feelings. A good ploy.

  3. I wasn't aware that I did this until I read your post, Rosanne, but when I look at my stories I can see I've been doing it unconsciously. Now I'm going to try actively thinking about it.