The influential reader

I heard the strangest comment about a book today which was like an a-ha! moment. Someone was talking about not having the right moral code to follow a character along a storyline. It wasn’t that they didn’t agree with the character, they just couldn’t understand the thought processes the character used to make their decisions.

The interesting thing for me was that the person put the onus back on themselves for not understanding, not the writer. The book and the reader were just not a good match. It pointed out the bleedingly obvious; that the enjoyment of a book comes not just from the skill of the author, but also from the synergy between reader and writer.

We have all had that depressing experience where we have picked up a much loved book from our younger years, only to find it now trite and clichéd. The book is exactly the same, it is us, the readers, who have changed.

So with the one person capable of both loving and clashing with the one book, what hope have we of tapping into the yin of everyone’s yang with our stories? Absolutely no chance at all.

I guess that is why you so often hear that you should write first and foremost to please yourself. At least then you can know that at you have reached the beautiful balance between reader and writer –even if they are one and the same person!

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