At the heart of good writing is a connection.
That is why I love character narrators so much. I like the reader to hear and feel as the character and not hear the author.
In short stories I like to make that connection quickly so even in 1000, 2000, 3000 words the reader has been in that world for a while and feels for the characters. It takes sharp writing and a keen sense of character to effect that in a short piece. I see the reader as being with the character for a short while, but long enough to care.
In the novel the relationship is allowed to develop and the hope is the reader forms a really strong connection.
I feel as if I had an intimate connection to the characters in my novel for a long time before I let anyone else meet them and now it seems lots of people are meeting them and seem to be liking them. I knew they’d love Lydia! Phew! So it was just the best to hear my mum (yes I know she’s biased!) say she loved the novel so much she was sad it had ended and is now reading it again because she missed the characters! Wow. That was always my hope, but again wow. I hope everyone else feels the same way!
As we begin the countdown to the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, I’d like to invite people to send me a short (say no more than 1000 word) non-fiction piece on where they were or where someone they know was when you/they heard Kennedy was assassinated — be honest but be poignant, say what it meant, how you/they felt, what was happening to you or them in your real lives (like the characters in my novel) and I will select the best ones to be posted here on the blog on November 22nd, say three or four during the day and the person who wrote the one I love the most will be awarded a free signed copy of the novel.
As I say in the afterword of the book, the world only stops a couple of times in a lifetime — for me it was when the twin towers fell out of the sky, and perhaps for a short time when Diana died. These moments are pivotal in our lives and while I wasn’t here when Kennedy was assassinated, it has still influenced my writing. And it’s a moment many still remember.
I’ll post about this again, but get thinking. Send the extracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org, don’t post them in comments.
Thanks and have a great day!