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Kristine: Hope

As I’ve been working on my novel rewrite, I’m paying a lot of attention to theme. In doing so, I’ve been trying to pinpoint not only what my story is about on a deeper level but also what I believe a reader will be looking for when he/she picks up my book if and when it gets published. Coming up with that answer means looking at human nature. What do people want right now?

What I’ve found so far? People are looking for HOPE. A glimmer of light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel for far too long.

Even though my story deals with a traumatic event (the violent death of teenage girl), as I approach the ending, I’m finding that my story is not just about catching the bad guy. It sends a strong message (at least I hope it does) about achieving inner peace. What I want the reader to feel after reading my book is that even though bad things happen to all of us, some of them so bad we think we will never recover from them, there is always an opportunity to find redemption. It may not come in the way we want, but it will come. We just need to keep the faith.

It is very important to me to end this story on a positive note.  With all the bad news being thrown at us on a daily basis about the economy and state of the world, I think we all need a little bit of positive reassurance that life is still good. We can all get through whatever life throws at us if we stick together.
When I first started out writing, I was a hard-core fiction writer. I’ve dabbed in everything from amateur sleuth cozies to serial killer thrillers. I’ve written scenes so gory they gave me nightmares. I’ve read them in books, too. The more chills, the better.

Now, not so much. My reading tastes have changed dramatically lately. I want lighter, more meaningful stories. Not necessarily all-happy endings, but endings that leave me feeling, yes, hopeful.

There is a lot I can’t control in this world, and even though I’d love to do it, I can’t change the turmoil and uncertainty we all feel right now. But what I can do is entertain in a way that brings some light to someone who may be seeing nothing but darkness ahead. That is my mission and what I hope to accomplish in writing this book.

So I ask you, what do you look for when you open a book?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you have it right, Kristine–at least for me. I’m always hoping that a book will help me “grow” in some way — perhaps by leading me through the unfamiliar to a place that resonates with me. I think hope is important. Don’t we all look for some kind of happy ending, even if that doesn’t mean a pretty pink bow?

    April 23, 2009
  2. Cathy #


    and if not a happy ending, at least some kind of resolution. there is so little resolution in life, we crave the well formed story arc. storytelling has been around at least as long as first grunts, long before the first letters were scratched in dirt. it is stories that give us a reference for some kind of meaning in this haphazard bit of chaos that is human life.

    April 23, 2009
  3. Kristine #

    Good. I’m glad I’m not the only one. If I don’t feel *something* at the end of a book, that author has lost me forever. If that feeling is a positive affirmation about life, even better.

    April 23, 2009
  4. ditto for me too. the ending doesn’t necessarily need to be “happy”, as i’ve read some books lately that didn’t necessarily end happily, but they did end leaving me wondering “what if” and wanting to come back for more of that same author. i’m not a chick lit reader but i’m also not a serious heavy crime, mystery reader. i like something in between. don’t care for the nicholas sparks of the world but i love nicholas evans and i wish he’d come out with something new! and yes, i have to admit, the twilight series has hooked me. i’m on the third book now. can’t wait to read a little something of yours!

    April 26, 2009
  5. Cathy #

    haha! i got duped into buying twilight and k got to before me. the stinker! he’s had it about a week now.

    i’m all about children’s lit these days, and am jonesing for some serious grownup books. making a collection on my desk ‘this is what i get to read when i’m done writing for kids!’

    but, just so you know, a lot of great stuff out there in the middle readers genre…spinelli, creech, lowry, hiaasen…

    April 26, 2009
  6. Kristine #

    That is so fun that you mention Twilight. I’m about 2/3 through the first book, and man, I am sucked in. I bought it just because I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the hype was about. Now I’ll most likely be looking for book two.

    April 26, 2009

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