Contractural Manipulation

When asked, “What is a writer?”what’s the first thing to come to mind? Is it one who tells a good story? Seems logical. Yet what does that entail? What makes a good story?

Action? Adventure? Suspense? Satisfaction? Escape? All the above?

Or does it run deeper?

At least for female readers (I’m not arrogant enough to assume I know what the average male reader looks for in a story), it’s the emotional connection to the characters. She wants to feel the joy, sadness, fear and yes, even horror, the characters feel.

I want readers my (male and female alike) to feel all of that. I want them to laugh, cry, be terrified, and shout with joy along with my characters.

As I printed out the latest chapter of my WIP for my local writers group, I couldn’t stop myself from grinning when I thought, “This chapter is going to make them weep.”

Even as I thought it, a part of me felt a twinge of guilt. Why should I look forward to making people cry? To gleefully manipulate their strongest emotions?

Because it’s in the unspoken/unwritten contract between writer and reader. It’s why we read. We want our emotions stirred, piqued, and yes, even manipulated. And as a writer, I should never shy from that fact. The moment I do so, my story falls flat and isn’t worthy of the figurative or literal paper it’s written on.

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