December 8, 2013

The Book you don't want to Write

Dear M,

I am reading a book that I am unable to connect with. As in, it is not my story, nor that of people I know. Now, Avatar is not a story about people I know; I cannot relate to anything that happens in Harry Potter's stories, and yet I don't find them as disconnecting as this one. This is more contemporary, more real, and yet it does not quite touch me. I did not stop reading, though. I had to know where it was headed. From what I've seen, it isn't going to any pretty place. Whether it has a destination, remains to be seen. But the book has to end, so there must be something to it, somewhere. Maybe if I dig deep in, I could find it out. Or maybe I will just finish reading it, and sit and wonder for a while.

It was the kind of story I did not want to read much of, except when I wanted to be distracted, and when I did not want anything too profound. It was an attempt at being funny, and yes, in places it was too. There were also traces of philosophy and even parts when I nodded my head in understanding.

The only problem was, it was not my world. And because of it (or not), the jokes do not feel like jokes. Some of it appear arrogant. And even ignorant. Many, many other readers would find that the story strikes a chord with them - just because it was their world, and they know those jokes because they wallow in them daily.

I know what kind of book I don't want to read. It's the kind of book I don't want to write. And yet I am reading it because it inspires me in a different way - it tells me, this is not how you want your book to make the reader feel, so go fix the problems in yours. Try to make it less pretentious, more grounded, more real to you. If there are readers who know your world, they will find it real too.


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