Friday, April 5, 2013

The Possibilities are Endless by Alison Henderson

Writers are all about the possibilities. After all, what is imagination but seeing possibilities? Whether we’re plotters or pantsers, when we’re working on a story we ask ourselves “what if?” or “what next?” at every turn. Even when writing logical impossibilities (such as fantasy or paranormal), we seek ways to make our imaginings appear possible to our readers.

If writing is about exploring and harnessing possibilities, what about reading? The best books draw the reader into the author’s world immediately, excluding all else. When you read, do you allow yourself to be swept along for the ride, or do you actively consider the possibilities for plot twists ahead? In other words, do you read like a reader or a writer? I much prefer to read as a reader. It’s a relief to be so caught up in someone else’s characters and plot that I shut down my internal writer and editor and simply enjoy the story. For me, that’s the sure mark of quality fiction.

Possibilities can be positive or negative, but romance writers are an inherently optimistic lot. If we weren’t, we’d never devote our writing lives to the pursuit of happily ever after. We deeply believe in the possibility of true love for our characters and, by extension, our readers. That’s why they buy our books, and that’s why we write them. No matter what obstacles we throw in its path, true love will win out. The trope is timeless. Why else would The Princess Bride be such a perennial favorite after so many years?

For romance writers, plot possibilities may be endless, but love remains the ultimate possibility. I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Jannine Gallant said...

My inner editor has a really loud mouth. LOL Makes it hard for me to read sometimes. But, you're right, a great book will make you forget to look for dangling participles!

Margo Hoornstra said...

My inner editor has a loud mouth too. But, it's when the story is well done we writers get to become readers only.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

It's the ?'s and the said tags that annoy me. A question mark only has one function, so why would you insult your reader's intelligence by slapping on he/she said after the ? Just makes my teeth itch and if a writer does it too many times, I'm not finishing the book. Great post and I am so thrilled you and your husband had a safe trip to your new home.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Vonnie. It's wonderful to be here!