I’m for it.
I don’t know about you, but once my wife and I were engaged our relationship felt different. There was no more looking around to see if there wasn’t a more colorful fish in the pond, (though I already knew that from the moment we had met).
Now probably wouldn’t be a good time to mention that I’m colorblind, would it?!
But being engaged enabled us to start planning for the future together rather than looking at things separately or from, at times, opposing angles or point of views. The word “engage” means to participate or become involved in. Sounds fun, right? Without it, we are merely observers, passively experiencing life or the things around us.
When it comes to that intimate relationship between Author and Reader, engagement is the key.
You can tell your story with the reader riding along in the passenger’s seat, flippantly Instagramming on their phone or nodding off between rest-stops…
You can throw that reader right into the driver’s seat where they’re gripping the wheel, feeling the pull of every high-speed turn while checking that rear-view mirror to see if that dark sedan is still following behind them.
As readers, we want to FEEL what’s happening in the story.
We want to CARE about the characters and outcome.
And we want to be SURPRISED.
Now I’m an avid reader, but unlike most people reading a book I tend to rotate between 5-6 novels at a time. Call it ADHD, call it another aspect of my informal and undiagnosed insanity; I don’t recommend it as it carries it’s own unique issues, but for me it just works. I tend to choose novels from different genres, different writing styles, known vs unknown authors, self-pubbed vs trad pubbed, etc. If I get “bored” with one book I can jump to a completely different story and find myself immersed again in a unique and exciting world. And when that world starts to look a little predictable I can jump somewhere else for awhile until the world I left becomes new and exciting again.
What’s interesting, however, is when I start to look at the time it’s taken me to complete some of the novels I’ve read. There is a clear difference between the books that I “get through” and the ones that leave me tied to a chair, prisoner to their stories. These books are tough to escape. And when you think of all the distractions we have in our lives, we’re all pretty good escape artists.
I often blog about the journey of a writer, each post one of the stepping stones or points on a map along that endless journey, but one undeniable fact about being an author is this:
You can’t make the journey alone.
A book is just print on a page or e-ink on a screen until someone reads it… ONLY THEN does it become a story, a world created with characters inhabiting it and acting out their lives. We readers are Creators of Worlds no different than the authors who imagined them. We bring our own unique experiences and backgrounds, thoughts and moral compasses, to each book that we read and each time a book is read, that world is a little different.
I’m grateful to each of you who have brought my worlds into existence and I’m excited to share the many projects and universes that are currently being spun in this old head of mine to a bus stop or driveway near you.
(Yes, this is me down on one knee preparing to propose. Awkward, I know.)
So go ahead and jump in. The car’s gassed up and it’s an open road ahead.
I’ll even let you drive.