guest blogger: jenny martin, librarian extrodinaire

bookstack2When Jen asked me to post about advice I’ve gleaned from writers’ groups, I wasn’t sure what suggestions to give. After all, as a writer, I’m a novice. I have zero expertise to offer on the mechanics of writing.

But I am a librarian. As such, it’s my job to read widely and well. I’d like to think I’m acquainted with the transaction between reader and book. Perhaps an examination of this exchange could be helpful. After mulling over the helpful hints offered at AQ and writer’s workshop, I’m struck by a single question.

What happens when I read a good story?

Reading is an interactive experience, an emotional communion between the reader and the tale. If a story reaches me, touching my intellect and psyche in a meaningful way, I consume the story.

Or does the story consume me?

After reading a really good book, I absorb the emotional core of the plot and carry it with me. Although I may never read it again, it never leaves my subconscious. Like a talisman, I examine the tale each time I devour something new. I compare its characters, its setting and its message against those inside the novel in my hands.

A good story haunts the outposts of the soul.

If this is true, what implications does it have for the writer?

Simply put, if the writer’s setting, characters, themes and plot do not spark an emotional connection, the story dies. It is not carried on, it is not absorbed, and it does not take root in the consciousness of the reader. The story slips away, a vapor. It’s lost.

If your story is does not yet live in the heart of its reader, do not lose faith. Return to your characters. Reach inside of them and extract the essence of that which makes them real and vibrant. Close your eyes and experience the story through their eyes. Transfigure this experience until it fits comfortably on the page.

Then, with any luck, your story will either break the reader’s heart or heal it.

About the blogger:

Jenny Martin is a school librarian in the DFW area. She holds a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas. She also reviews books and writes YA.

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One Response to “guest blogger: jenny martin, librarian extrodinaire”

  1. catching fire, writing odds and ends…necessarily in that order | Writer’s Cramp Says:

    [...] learned a lot about writing this weekend thanks to my pal Jenny Martin. She was the librarian who guest blogged for me last week, remember? I learned that one of those courses mentioned above would be a great idea for me. [...]

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