I Don't Have a Prostate
Yesterday an interesting and quick, as most twitter exchanges are, conversation happened between myself, Aleksandr Voinov, and Monika Krasnorada. Basically we were talking about the difference between writing from anger vs. hate. This was all in reference to a rather *squick* inducing subject matter involving, in no particular order: snuff, Nazi's, porn, and fictional story lines. I know *ewww* and we all concurred on the ick factor.
Why do I mention it? Well, this morning Rick R. Reed posted a lovely bit about Love (yes with a capital 'L') at Jessewave.**warning grab some tissues and prepare to smile and tear up reading what Rick has to say** I know most of you, maybe all of you, have read it already and probably commented (I did). Which is a testament to the power of love-- and not just because Rick R. Reed wrote it. And I'll just mention here and now that Rick is a really nice guy as well as a talented, successful author.
All of this hate, anger, and love stuff got me thinking. Thinking about motivation. The motivation for writer's to write and what a writer uses to fuel the motivation of characters.
What makes stories resonate with readers? I know for me when I am reading I love character development. I have to love the characters, even the evil ones-- you know the ones we all love to hate. Personally, I am drawn to stories that cause me strong emotions. Aleksandr's characters do that. His characters are intense and uncomfortable things happen in his stories that grab my full attention. Another author who grabs me and I can't stop reading once I get started is Manna Francis. Intensity of a story is thrilling to me. I appreciate when author's take risks and push the envelope.
Readers are savvy and are very aware of motivation. Readers don't want shock for shock value, but they will appreciate shock when it is well written. They will respond when an author takes a story out on a limb and dangles it all over a cliff edge-- and it's most effective when there is the underlying vulnerability and love of the characters hanging in the balance. And readers also know when an author just doesn't care about the characters. We've all had that WTF moment when reading something realizing we've been fooled by an author. I really hate that.
So, Rick got me thinking about maturity of a writer's skill. There is this saying/myth about "write what you know." Well, I've got to tell you I've written some things I've never experienced. After all, I don't have a prostate-- how the hell do I know what it feels like to have it stimulated? I can only imagine and compare the experience to my G-spot. Of course, I've done research (shh it's a secret) and asked several men-- at least those who have experienced having their P-spot diddled with what it feels like. I do my damnedest to write with a level of maturity that respects my characters and my readers. So, "write what you know" is kind of nebulous. I think what we do as storytellers is use what we know to motivate what we write. And readers can tell when an author writes from a place of love.
So, yeah... love it's really important.
**Thank fuck I have friends who look out for me when I make glaring errors! Thanks S.**