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Readers feel resistance, too. They fear high feelings as much as you do. Paradoxically, it’s also what they seek in fiction. If you have ever raged or cried when reading a novel and cursed the author for making you feel like that, then you’ve experienced that resistance.

~ Donald Maass, Writing 21st Century Fiction

Here’s the thing. I have raged and cried at books before. I have cursed authors. And I never want to make another human being feel what I felt at those times.

I’ve sat alone, sobbing, snot running, halfway through a book, and it’s a book I’ll never finish.

I’ve read things that made me vow never to pick up anything else by that author again. Not because the author wasn’t talented, but because I won’t volunteer to be treated like that. There are some worlds I never want to see.

I’ve read stories that made me so angry I’ve thrown the book across the room – taken breaks – long breaks – from that author, because I don’t trust them anymore.

I get that this is me – my personal tastes and opinions – and that there are other readers who either aren’t affected this way, or who are affected this way and lap it right up. Fine. But I take personal tastes and opinions into my own writing, when I think about the stories I love best and most want to tell. This kind of emotion has no place there.

If it ever shows up, I will have failed to craft the story I meant to. I will have failed to write something I’d ever want to read. So it’s weird to read this advice. I suppose it’s great if you’re a different writer than me.

Anyway, not finished with the book yet, but I’m starting to wonder if almost all of it was written for different writers than me.

Oh, well. There will be other books.


Pass the popcorn and bring on the UNRELENTING JOY AND WONDER, is what I’m saying.