The Writer’s Wheel 8/2/2020: What a Reader Learns from Books
Why do people read? For enjoyment? Sure. For education. Yes. For escape from their day-to-day tasks? You bet. Can genre books include stories readers learn from? Certainly.
Depending on the character, readers can discover a way to go on when they read a certain character’s story. Harry Potter opened a world for children of all ages. Who was this wizard? What secrets did his past hold? Would he survive Voldemort? Only the series would tell. I’ve read about people’s lives being changed by characters within the Hogwarts world.
Just like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander world. The story of Claire and Jaimie spanned centuries. It’s still ongoing. It started close to the Battle of Culloden, they visited many countries during the sequels, ending up in the Americas about the time of the Revolutionary War. There, they started a new life and fought for a future together as their daughter did in the modern world.
Fans identify with these characters over and over. Take Nora Roberts books. She is famous for writing about supernatural as well as mysteries and contemporaries. Her characters are always well-done. I think it’s because she takes such care with them. If you want to write bestselling books, you’ll need to do the same.
Every successful book has a tale to tell. Stephen King writes about viruses and end of the world scenarios. People read them and discover that life isn’t so far from fiction at times. We experience tragedies and horror just like in the books we read. The monsters King brings to life terrify us and remind us that the day-to-day life can reflect such. When we see the heroes win, it gives us hope that we will prevail over our own monsters.
Mysteries have always been around in life as well as fiction. Jack-the-Ripper, for instance, has terrified masses since the Victorian age. There are endless theories about who he is and why he did what he did. We are thrilled to read each writer’s new perspective on things. Sometimes they come up with a plausible story we can enjoy.
Fantasy novels bring us into a past that we’re probably glad we didn’t live in. After all, who would want to meet someone such as Hitler? Or the bloodthirsty Vikings? What about Joffrey Lancaster? Or any of the other power-hungry characters of GOT? They went overboard to get what they wanted.
Have any readers been inspired to move to a place their favorite novel was set in? I bet they have. Or maybe they came to appreciate where they live a little better. I came to love the Lovely Vicious books because they were set in my home state. I liked to see us represented because we usually aren’t. It made me realize there were places I still needed to visit. Fun to be had. I bet it’s the same for others when their state is featured.
What have you learned about in your favorite books? I’ve visited some spectacular places. Met some amazing characters. Read some killer books. Every time I pick a book up or read on my kindle or NetGalley, it brings a new appreciation into my life. I wouldn’t miss being able to read for anything. There is such joy and wonder in each story.
How about you? Why do you read? I do admit that it helps a writer tremendously as it gets your imagination working and leads to fertile ideas all-around. Of course, you don’t steal someone else’s story, but you might expand on a point they made in the story. Or a new idea might spring forth for all to treasure.