As I continue the author events for Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m beginning to notice the evolution of my audiences. This past summer saw the typical protocol; introducing the story’s premise, discussing the writing process and answering questions about the motivation of this or that plot device. However, these days as the novel’s readership widens, a larger percentage of audiences are comprised of ardent fans. It is a treat to be met with readers who want nothing more than to tell me how they feel connected with a certain character or how a specific storyline touched them significantly. I find myself talking much less and allowing the readers to share their thoughts and feelings.
My daughter predicted this months ago; before the manuscript was even published she told me to prepare for sharing my characters with the world. “You’re going to have to let them go soon and they’ll become special to complete strangers. Just imagine what it will be like to read fan-fictions based on your book.”
Since then, I’ve learned the meanings of slang words like, “canon”, “ship”, “OTP,” and “AU”. I’ve heard disagreements between fans about the specific appearance of one of my main characters and I’ve leaned back in my chair to listen as one reader explained to another their personal take on the symbolism of my raven “Monk” and orca “Saka”.
As I make progress toward the audiobook creation, I’m remembering these instances and taking them to heart. The familiarity that readers develop with favorite stories is intimate and not to be trifled with. (After all, this die-hard Tolkien fan was royally ticked off when Legolas showed up as a blonde in the movie). When I heard Gray Eubank narrate a passage from my book last month, I experienced the story from a reader’s perspective. It was a valuable opportunity.
I’m currently working on the structure for SoaTW’s sequel these days and this knowledge is a powerful motivator, (or heavy burden, depending on the day). I have my favorite characters… I won’t commit to them publicly as I love them all, with the exception perhaps of one or two. I’ll wrestle with their individual fates and plot development as I bear in mind the responsibility I owe not only to my characters but to the readers who’ve come to love them and their story.
This is what makes being a writer such a privilege.
Do you have a personal connection with a particular character in this novel? Is there a memorable moment for you in the storyline? Is there something you’d really like to see (or definitely don’t want to happen) in the next installment? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Just comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for sharing