Getting intimate with your readers.
By intimate I mean really intimate, telling your readers about your ‘ills’, your personal peccadillos, your most secret sexual pleasures.
Sounds like something you would never do?
Well, maybe you should.
Now, bear with me whilst I, in my usual rambling fashion, seem to digress. I assure you all will become clear as you read on.
A short while ago I read an article by…(I forget who!)…which said, that reading is just using words to make suggestions, it is the readers mind that creates the images and makes the story.
To explain this further; when you introduce a character into your story, regardless of your own imagination, each reader will ‘build’ their own personal vision of how that character is; what they are wearing, how they walk, the tone and rhythm of their voice.
The finite details of the car or train they ride in will appear in the reader’s head like a movie scene. Each person will imagine this in a style which is unique to them.
As the reader turns page after page, the houses, the streets, the towns and cities evolve to create that readers own singular and distinctive world. Your words become their (the readers) own story, set in their own world.
All you have done, as the writer, is string one suggestive idea after another; the rest is perception, imagination and vision of the individual holding your book.
This is something I find fascinating; the ability to share thoughts and ideas with another person, a person who you, most likely, will never meet. Moreover, this ability to ‘suggest’ to place guided concepts into another’s mind has no limitations regarding time or space.
Whether the reader is a few meters or a million miles away; or indeed is reading your book a year, a decade or in a thousand years from now, your suggestive words will still stimulate their own imaginations, still allow and encourage them to create a version of that nether-world, a world you fashioned from thought in some timeless point and place.
At this juncture you may be asking yourself “what does any of this have with intimacy?”
Allow me to continue.
We all have personal and private thoughts; many we never share, even with those closest to us. This is not a fault or a weakness of character. It is simply what we do, as humans, as people.
Now, these things can be simple; like a certain smell evoking a memory. Possibly a memory from childhood, good or bad. But because it is an innermost secret we never reveal the emotions it stirs within us.
Another could be sexual pleasure, a certain touch, in a certain place, given by a former lover or during self-stimulation? Possibly, probably, never shared with another. The reason could again be many, primarily held within to protect us from the possibility of ridicule, however unjust or superficial that may be in reality.
Often not revealing such is matter of privacy, of not wanting to be embarrassed, or at least not wanting to give someone else the opportunity to embarrass us. Sometimes it may be protection of another sort, defense against the risk of giving leverage; presumed or real.
That all said and done, I know not a single person upon this earth who is not holding such personal secrets close. We all have them. Even you. Although sometimes we try to hide them from ourselves because of the pain, the hurt, the sorrow or guilt they dredge up from our pasts.
This is the form, the type of intimacy that I believe, as authors, we should share with our readers.
Now, before you shout at me, call me crazy, deluded or worse, let me clarify my train of thought regarding this matter.
I am not saying we should all blatantly reveal our souls; neither am I proposing a mass catharsis. I am simply expressing my view that, as each and every reader is creating their own version of your basic story, as suggested by the words you have written, that to get under the skin of your readers, to endear them to your story, your style of writing, your narration and, of course, to identify with your characters; what better way than to share with them some of the most intimate, emotive and emotional secrets a person can hold?
Doing so will further the perception of true-life, of reality for your readers. Just as you share some of your secrets with those closest to you, your partner, husband, wife, best friend, mother?
Such intimacy builds trust, strengthens relationships, cements bonds. What better way to endear your readers?
This does not mean you have to write a ‘tell-all’ revelation of your own life.
It does mean that you can and, in my humble opinion, should draw on your own life experiences, even those dark and deeply personal ones, to share with your readers. Remember they shall be relating your words to the intimate areas of their own lives not yours.
As fiction writers we cloak reality with fiction, mix fact and fantasy on a daily basis. Nothing changes; what may be perceived as fact is realised to be false and vice versa.
You can become as intimate as you wish with your readers when you draw on your most confidential of life’s experiences. They shall not be judging you, they will be judging you work…and their own lives.
If you still hold concerns about this, let me leave you with these words:
“Everything I write is fiction, except the bits that are true. Although my readers tend to think the truth is fiction and fiction the truth. I just wish I knew the difference”.
Thank you for reading me, a guest of the wonderful Rose Montague.
You may want to read my new book collection, ‘Tales of Crime & Violence’, several short (& some not so short!) focusing on the cognitive and emotional aspects of those involved with, or caught up in, unusual circumstances.
These tales focus on the people, their emotions, fears and dreams. Something quite different to the usual book in this genre.
Kindle Worldwide http://authl.it/B019VNDE5E