Feels after a novel

I’m reading Plot and Structure. Despite the really horrible character book I read, this has been a most worthwhile purchase. Currently it’s a lot of affirmation, but then Mr. Bell asked a very compelling question. Fill in the blank:

When readers read my novels, I want them to feel                                         at the end. That’s because, to me, novels are                             .

When readers read my novel, I want them to feel epic at the end. I want their heart to be racing, their blood boiling at the wrongs and rights committed within, and I want them to ponder their own life. I want them to think about what they can do in the future, or what they have done in the past, that has been an immense journey. I want them to relate to my characters, thinking “I’ve been there. I’ve done that.” Sure they may not have slaughtered a thousand pound beast of doom, but they had to deal with the wicked witch.

Also, I want them to feel. I want them to be angry at injustice. I want them to rejoice at a wedding. I want them to weep when their favorite character can’t quite make it, whether it’s death, failure, or corruption, I want them to weep for their favorites. I want them to sympathize with the villain, even if they wouldn’t side with him.

That’s because to me novels are a human experience of life. It is not a simple caricature of exaggerated concepts, but an actual statement on how there’s a little good and bad in all of us. It’s because if you don’t laugh and cry while reading my novel, I didn’t do my job. It’s because in high school a really hot and popular girl told me she needs to laugh and cry during a novel for it to be good, and apparently that heat smoldered the belief into my generally thick skull.

Novels are art, they are an expression of the writer’s soul, and they are an attempt for a group of people who are generally introverts, to reach out and commune with the souls of others. They don’t know it. They have no idea in most cases, aside from the fans who say it. But that’s okay. We don’t need to. Honestly, I don’t particularly want to talk to you in a social setting. I will. I’m told I’m pleasant company. But I’d rather you feel me through a novel, as I’m significantly more comfortable and expressive through it.

There are several exercises per chapter. I think I’ll post one up from each. This book really is incredible and I do highly suggest it. I actually want to cry having written this because I feel overwhelmed. Love this book. Laughing and crying.

7 Comments on “Feels after a novel

  1. That is very powerful, Paul. I like that a LOT.

    • The book has been amazing and helpful. Unfortunately I should really be focusing more heavily on editing and such. So many books, so little time.

      • Sometimes it is best to step away for a bit before editing. It helps me anyway.

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