"If you're not laughing, crying, or terrified out of your mind, then I haven't done my job."
If anyone ever gets curious about what the driving credo behind my work is, this is it. My current email tagline, "Writer: (n) A supernatural creature with the ability to alchemically transform caffeine, nicotine, and a dictionary into literature" is very fun and tongue-in-cheek, as I intended it to be. It embraces the supernatural bent of what I create, and it doesn't hurt that it's funny. It sticks with the reader (or so I've been told.) Hence, I stick with the reader.
But the tagline at the top of this post was the original. And it's just as true now as when I first wrote it. The reasoning behind it is simple.
Writers create a world. It's our job to make that world as believable to the reader as possible. We have to literally seduce the reader to suspend their disbelief and immerse themselves in a world where angels and mortals can not only interact but fall in love; where gods and goddesses walk among us; and where magic (or magick, for the more mystically inclined) is not only an actual force, but one with codified laws and rules no different than those of physics.
Once the reader's disbelief is suspended, the writer then has to move on to the more delicate and difficult task: making the reader feel. The goal is to make the reader laugh out loud, cringe in fear, cry out in outrage, shiver with desire, or weep with sorrow.
That's all I want. From you, my honored reader, I want nothing more or less than your emotions. I want you to believe in what I'm showing you, even if it is cloaked in metaphor and the mechanics of plot, character, and wordsmithing. If you tell me later that you laughed, wept, or had to excuse yourself for a private session with yourself (don't give me that innocent face; you know damn good and well what I mean), then I have succeeded. If I made you think, or question your basic assumptions about life and the world in general, or feel something that you might not have otherwise, then I've achieved exactly what I set out to do.
And if, God (or gods if you like) willing, you learned something, tried something new, or maybe gave that guy, or girl, you see every day at work a second look and discovered something you might not have otherwise, then I'm one happy man.
That's what romance is all about. At its core, you see someone different than you, whether it be the vaguely geeky guy with the glasses who writes passionate poetry at night when he's alone and no one's watching, or the woman who always has her hair up in a bun so as not to appear as a sex object. You notice them. You ask, "What if. . .?" And, screwing up your courage, you take a chance. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so much. Either way, you learned something.
If it worked, though, and if the person viewing that apparently "unattractive" person through a different lens this morning happened to read my work last night and took that chance, then there's a little more love in the world.
All in all, I'd call that a pretty solid tribute. The new, happy couple may not realize it themselves; they may not notice that their personal Cupid came out of something one of them read. But somewhere, somehow, someone is watching. Someone saw. Someone is smiling. And two new people have found love. . . because, it is hoped, of me.
I'll take it.
Until next time,
Writer: (n) A supernatural creature with the ability to alchemically transform caffeine, nicotine, and a dictionary into literature.
Come see me at http://www.jswayne.wordpress.com/!