It’s a Brave New World!
I don’t know about you, but my reading and writing habits changed dramatically in 2020. For months I couldn’t read anything substantive or write anything but Covid-related articles (“Death in the Time of Covid,” “Non-Profits in the Time of Covid,” “Parenting in the Time of Covid,” etc., etc.) But with vaccines now plentiful and warm breezes blowing, hope, motivation, and spring are in the air. We’re about to face a brave new world. I’m ready to make up for lost time with my writing—and I hope you are, too.
First of all, I’m clearing off my desktop, sending pre-pandemic projects to agents/publishers: Dear Ginny, (WWII epistolary novel set in Portland, Maine), A Village at War (oral history of Michigan during WWII), and The Accidental Wife (historical romance). And I’m tackling two exciting new projects: Portrait of a Journalist (the life story of a 92-year-old) and Beyond the Reach, (Young Adult novel).
Because it’s been a while, let’s remind ourselves what readers want and writers aspire to, no matter what our genre or audience:
ENTERTAINMENT: We want to be connected, to feel what the characters feel and understand why they do what they do—we want to jump into the story with both feet. We want to ESCAPE!
ILLUMINATION: Great literature WARNS, INFORMS, RECORDS, EXHORTS, casting a powerful light on personal, political, social, economic, or historical issues, bringing them into focus so skillfully that when the last page is read, we continue to ponder the message. And the best messages are transformational.
INTELLECTUAL & EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGES: Books offer us the chance to create and/or solve crimes alongside experienced detectives, explore the Andes, join archeological digs, grapple with social or economic issues, deconstruct puzzles, and learn new skills—among countless other challenges.
SURPRISES & SUSPENSE: Writers can convince readers to fling themselves into any adventure, fiction or non-fiction, if it’s told well. We all want to out-trick tricksters, race athletes, solve perplexing mysteries, and accompany real-life heroes through their deepest, darkest challenges and into their transformative achievements. We crave CHANGE.
COMPLETE IMMERSION: The best stories are so compelling we can’t wait to see how they end, whether we’re writing or reading them.
That said, I hope you feel the excitement of our brave new world. Turn on your computer or iPad, collect pen and paper, and join me in a literary adventure.
Do you have a story to tell?
My two writing groups, the Cedar Chips and Reynolds’ Writers proudly celebrate new publishing successes. Jackie Freeman’s children’s book about pickleball, Bend Your Knees, Louise! has hit Amazon’s best-seller list–as has my 82-year-old Aunt Eleanor’s A Taste for All Seasons.
Eleanor Rodio Furlong is a first-generation Italian-American who grew up on a N.J. truck farm, and her recipes are rooted in ancient family and Italian traditions. An exceptional cook, she not only tells stories about the recipes, but describes the processes involved in creating four seasons of marvelous recipes. I was privileged to edit her masterpiece and sample her culinary masterpieces. A great thrill and honor!
I’m so proud of both women–and I’m happy to help anyone else who dreams of writing a book.