Sorry for the brief silence, I am currently holidaying with the Bman and the Little Man in the Land of the Long White Cloud and our connection to the internet world has been patchy at best.
We are here after a midnight flight from Australia for a family reunion at Womad and having a fabulous time.
Last night we had our little gypsy camp of campervans, house trucks and tents set up in a beautiful scenic reserve, complete with marshmallows and roaring fire, divine. This does have a writing connection, bare with me!
<<This is our camper, me in the window with a cup of wine!, and my inlaw’s gorgeous house truck!, yes this is in a paddock, not the gorgeous reserve of last night!>>
The surroundings were lush, vibrant and green, not all that different from reserves I’ve been to in Australia. In fact at one point I almost asked our locally based family if we could expect to see kangaroos at dusk and dawn as we would back home. But of course we’re in New Zealand, not Australia, kangaroos don’t roam the wilds of NZ. While I knew we were on holiday intellectually, the sense of familiarity was still there. And here’s my point, finally 🙂
When we write, it is this sense of familiarity that makes our readers comfortable and able to lose themselves in the story and world we have created. Even if that story is uncomfortable by nature, the familiarity of setting, of emotion, of action, provides touchstones that a reader can understand and relate to.
This is the case even if the world created is completely foreign, in outer space, if the protagonist is a serial killer, an alien, a child or an earthworm, far removed from our actual experience, the sense of familiarity is essential for reader engagement. But what creates that sense of familiarity can vary widely, a character’s reactions, internal dialogue, a place, a smell, an interaction, weather.
So there’s my point, how do you make your readers comfortable? How do you make them want to return again and again to your story, because they love what you have created, they remember it because they recognised and connected with something.
Off for nibbles and wine…..