Thursday, May 26, 2016

Do Writers Offer A Dialogue Or A Rant?

Writing a book allows for a one-sided conversation to take place.  The author tells the reader what to think, how to feel, and what to do, based on the words that are chosen or omitted on the topic selected for discussion. A real conversation only takes place after the book is read – with reviews, social media, author appearances, news media interviews, book club discussions, or classroom debates.

The good author, however, tries to think like the reader and understands the assumptions, standards, and knowledge that such readers operate under. If an author truly has no idea about the values, tastes, perceptions or lifestyles of his readers, how can he write for them?

He must think along with the reader and set the pace for what unfolds next. The author is in total control of the situation, but only if he properly reads the tea leaves on the mood and mindset of the public.

How does one push the envelope if he has no idea of a baseline from which to sprout from?  How can one shock or humor or educate unless he knows what his readers know?

Writing allows for arguments to be shaped, views to be molded, and for facts to fit into a neat construct.  The world could make sense when it’s only looked at from a certain perspective, when certain ideas, events, or theories are ignored, downplayed or refuted. The world, from the vantage point of a novelist, only works best when he or she holds one view above all others, when one truth is higher than other truths.

Books provide a narrative, however accurate, fair, or factual it may or may not be, and the only other view that matters is that of the reader, who will either agree with the author or whole heartedly disagree.  The book’s legitimacy or greatness will depend mainly on how the reader sees the world and how it either clashes with or supports the view outlined by the author.

If readers, in the end, determine a book’s greatness, shouldn’t authors query their readers more often?  Shouldn’t writers make bigger strides to know who their readers are?  If the writing process is one-sided, so is the reading process.  Readers react to what’s written.  They either will play along and be led to something familiar and yet refreshing or they will be challenged to choose whether or not they buy into what’s being proposed to them.  The writer-reader connection is one that needs to be looked at more closely if we are to come to see books as not only sparking a dialogue, but actually providing one.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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