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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Creating relationships

cj Sez: A couple of years ago, I did a post about relationships. I’d read some really good articles on the subject, and I think some of the things I learned are worth repeating today.

The dictionary defines the word “relationships” this way:

[ri-ley-shuh n-ship] 

1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people:  the relationship between teachers and students.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.

   Really, you don’t need another person to have a relationship. You can have a relationship with anything, animate or inanimate

   In the movie TURNER AND HOOCH, Tom Hanks’s Turner character builds a crazy relationship with a big, slobber-faced dog. You have a compulsively neat, bachelor, detective whose tidy world is invaded by Hooch who brings household destruction and chaos. . . The Odd Couple redux.

   In the 2000 movie CASTAWAY, Tom Hanks’s marooned
character creates a relationship with an inanimate object. He creates a persona for the Wilson volleyball that survived the plane crash with him. He gives it a face and a name and talks to it as if it were another person.  In the mid-1970s, it was the Pet Rock craze.

   Every day we interact with animals, objects, and people of all stripes—family, friends, coworkers, strangers, et al. Our relationship with each is different, depending on the need.

   As authors, we create relationships between characters in their stories.

   One of the most important relationships authors can have is the one they have with their readers…the relationship they build with their writing.

   If I’ve gotten you interested enough to continue reading this brief essay, then I’m beginning to build a relationship with you. How long the relationship will last will be determined by how long I can continue to entertain your interest in what I’m saying…your excitement of learning something new or discovering a statement that suddenly makes sense to you.

   One comment I read on author/reader relationships went something like… “I don't need every detail explained to me. Rather, let me see the details and discern for myself.”

   This is how stories must progress if you’re going to keep your audience interested in your work. Write the truth. Appeal to their intellect. This is especially true for fans of mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. These readers love to learn something new. They’d rather not be told but want to discover things on their own.They want to feel smart at having figured out the puzzle.  It’s about writing in Deep Point of View. It’s about positive reinforcement. We all need it.

   A writer’s skill at creating a story that draws in a reader emotionally and intellectually is what keeps the reader coming back for more. That’s when you’ve got the beginnings of a relationship.

   Caveat: It is the author’s responsibility to maintain the relationship. The reader doesn’t owe you anything and can end this promising author/reader relationship at any time, sometimes for no apparent reason.


Tidbits to share:

   Fellow author Maris Soule recently blogged about the copyright laws, and it starts off this way: On January 1, 2020, copyright on the thousands of works created in 1924 expired, and these works began their new life in the public domain. I think you’ll find the piece very interesting:

   A recent Kirkus Review post briefly discusses how proper punctuation clarifies complex sentences.


   Daylight saving time officially starts Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. Since I don’t plan to get up in the middle of the night to change my clocks, it’d be a good idea to “spring forward”—i.e., move the clocks ahead one hour—before going to bed next Saturday night (or just let all those smart devices change themselves).

   P.S.: The grammatically correct usage is “daylight saving time.” The expression is singular and not capitalized, according to the US Government Publishing Office style guide; i.e., daylight saving (not savings) time.

   That’s all for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

   VALENTINE’S DAY PIECES anthology is still available on Amazon—hours of entertainment for very little money. And could you please take a couple of minutes to write a review.  

   Autographed print copies of CHOOSING CARTER, DEADLY STAR, and THE POSSE are still available at the Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER (and support an indie bookstore) contact The Haunted Bookshop here: The Haunted Bookshop  Angela Trigg, the awesome owner and an award-winning author in her own right (writing as Angela Quarles) will be happy to ship you the book(s) of your choice. If you’re in Mobile area, do stop in at the book store; it’s a neat place to browse.

These friendly people make a point to shelve the books of local authors, and VALENTINE’S DAY PIECES anthology is also available there. If they don’t happen to have any copies of any book(s) you want, they’ll place an order for you.

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