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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reader Mail

I love reader mail. Mostly the people who write me are happy with the books and want to tell me what struck them especially, or they want to find out if I’m going to write more in a particular world. [Yes, all right, all right, maybe someday I’ll get around to a Song of the Beast sequel .] To hear from a happy reader helps me through discouragement and reminds me that I’ve “done this before and it turned out ok.”

But some readers go beyond and expose something of their emotional involvement with the stories, and that is most gratifying as well.

Jarod wrote:

What struck me most of all in the book [Breath and Bone] was the way you wrote Valen's addiction. I'll admit that, at first, I didn't like it at all. I found that I disliked the character, the weakness, and my own difficulty in relating to his plight, being free of such addictions myself. I was frustrated that he couldn't just get on with life and be a "normal" protagonist and, well.. make choices that I myself might have made. It took me a while to realize that my reaction was a "good" one, in that it meant that you (as an author) created a believable and very flawed character whose weaknesses were a central part of his being--and wrote those weaknesses so powerfully that I wanted to skip the scenes for the sheer discomfort they caused me (but
I didn't skip them!). I surely can learn a lesson from this, that a flawed protagonist is much more interesting, and that writers must not be afraid to show those flaws and embrace them, lest the story dull.

How beautifully this articulates the storyteller’s art! Thanks, Jarod.


Kitty said...

Carol, I'd just like to say that it is deeply inspiring and uplifting to read your posts (and reader mail) on so many aspects of writing. When I took up writing on a daily (or nearly so) basis again after a very long dry spell in my life, I was terrified that I would learn only that I'm a bad writer. So many times, while reading your blogs and the reader posts, I have a "Yes!" moment that affirms something I've felt instinctively. I still have a lot of work to do, but I cannot think of anything I'd rather do (except read of course!). My thanks to you, and to your readers who comment here, for the inspiration and info that helps strengthen my resolve.

carolwriter said...

Glad you find it helpful. (And I do have great readers.)