difficult questions

I’m filling out a questionnaire (this process repeats itself with every book) and I came across a question that has held me up for a while:

What do you want readers to take away with them after reading the book?

I thought about this for a while, and the answer that came to mind is so simple it may come across as silly.

An author wants a story and the characters in the story to live on.  A really good story has legs; it walks off from the author and no laws in the world can tie it down. People tell it and retell it and write fanfiction and get all wound up in it. That’s what I would hope for. That’s the golden grail. 

What’s your sense of this? To woo-woo? I thought of being cynical:

I want a reader to walk away with the irresistable urge to go out and buy every book I ever wrote. Multiple copies of every book, all new.To give away to friends and family and total strangers.

Or:

I want a very, very rich person to be so bowled over that he or she calls  me up and offer me his or her patronage. No money worries for the rest of my life; I just write what I want to write.

Clearly, I’ve lost all perspective here. Anybody have some to share?

4 Replies to “difficult questions”

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head. If I find a book I absolutely love, I go and read all the books I can by the author. I will then re-read the book about once each year, while waiting for a new book to be published by the author. So here I am waiting for your next book….

  2. Hmm..I s’pose ya want the reader to care about the characters, ’nuff to think about them long after the story’s done. Though it is a question for the author of the story. Some authors write to enlighten, some to educate, maybe share an idea, a vision, to entertain, or just because they have to write..what was the question? :/

  3. I agree with Nancy b. I read by authors. Occasionally there’s a story that gets retold a lot (Romeo and Juliet comes to mind) or Cooper’s stories (ha!). Golden Grail? OK. Very, very high goal, but sometimes it’s too easy to jump over low ones.

    I’m guessing every author has a different goal.

  4. I read for the ‘pause’ at the end of the book – where you sit still for several minutes and consider what you have just read. I may think of the characters, the story, or the era in which it was written. I will consider the things I learned that I never knew before, why the author picked that subject, or why it was written in that style. Not many books get a pause but I always remember those that do.

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