Welcome to another round of the Blog Chain. This round’s questions comes from Shannon who wants to know:
Imagine this: when you’re gone, readers will remember your writing most for just one of these things: your characters, your plots, your settings, or your style. Which one (only one!) would you prefer over the rest? Why?
Wow! What a great question. And perfect for where I am in my life right now.
As many of you know things have been an emotional rollercoaster for the past several months. My mom is engaged in a rather difficult health battle. As I try to walk through this time with her and do my own emotional work on mortality and dealing with this kind of loss, I find myself ruminating about the sacred moments we’ve spent over my lifetime. Memories of sitting in her lap reading my favorite book, or cooking side by side. Our favorite moments filled with joy, or sharing life’s difficulties and a few tears.
As the memories swim around my thoughts, I am reminded that it is not the events themselves that make these memories sacred, but the relationship with my mom. It is my time with her, the ways in which our relationship has grown and developed that I cling to.
Likewise, as I face the reality of my own eventual death, I know it is the relationships and connections formed that remain long after I go – the precious impact of one human being on another.
The same is true in my writing. I want my characters and their relationships to each other and the reader to be the stand-out thing in my work.
If I think about the books I’ve read throughout my life, it is not the setting I think about, or the writing, or the plot. Ultimately it is the characters that stay with me.
I want my words to be thought of the same way. I want my characters to be so rich, so full, so dynamic that they stay with the reader. Because ultimately, that is all that really matters, all that really lasts – how we connect with each other.
What are your thoughts? Would you want to be remembered for your characters, your settings or plot, or your writing style?
And for more about how I try to creat such rich characters, check out yesterday’s contribution to the great blogging experiment on writing compelling characters.