Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Guest Blogger: Author Jeff Bennington
Before I begin, I’d like everyone reading this to know that Neal Hock, the Big Dog of Bookhound’s Den, did the final proofread for Reunion. He found the little things, the details hidden inside of that eighty-five thousand word manuscript, which is now receiving five-star reviews. Thanks Neal. You did a great job.
Power at Your Fingertips
By Jeff Bennington
There comes a time in every writer’s life when he or she must decide how they want to use their gift. After producing dozens of short stories, articles and blog entries, you’ve come to a point where you look at what you’ve penned and wonder what it is you are really trying to accomplish. What is your purpose?
If you write novels, you cannot avoid the fact that your work is filled with themes and inner struggles and conflict of all kinds. Many of those ideas spring from your own experiences and wonderings and interests; many are purely fiction. Yet amid the perfectly planned plot and character sketches, there is a deeper meaning, the true intent of your work—the reason for the novel.
My question is, how does the purpose of your novel fit with the purpose of your life. Are you hitching a ride on the indie gravy train, seeking nothing more than profit, or are you writing with passion and intent? What matters to you? What do you care about? Are you writing only to entertain?
Nothing wrong with that, I’m just asking.
I’m asking because I believe authors have the capacity to do more than entertain. We have a magic wand called a pencil and it has the potential to transform! When I think about it, those tiny little keys that we punch every day, hold the power to heal, the power to challenge and the ability to inspire. Perhaps this is a strength that you have never considered to be part of your literary arsenal. Maybe, you’ve only thought of yourself as a storyteller, a humorist or literary creationist. But I’m here to tell you that your readers, like all people, love to be inspired and encouraged through stories both fact and fiction. It is a trait common to all men and women. Those that choose to spend their time reading rejoice when they close the last page of a book feeling inspired, hopeful, motivated or emboldened.
True stories like The King’s Speech and Pursuit of Happiness became blockbuster hits, not because the plot was out of this world, but because they showed us that the most common and flawed personalities could do great things against incredible odds. And who doesn’t like to hear that? I mean, when’s the last time you searched for a book that you knew would bring you down, make you feel stupid, or completely demotivate you? The answer? Probably never.
With that said, have you considered using your gift, your magic wand, your power to be the spark that ignites a fire in the hearts of your readers? If you answered yes, then I applaud you. If you answered no, maybe this blog post could be your inspiration to make something more of your life, to make it worth more than the cost of your tombstone, more than a few bucks.
As an author, you can do so much more than simply tell a terrifying tale. In fact, I never imagined that I’d do anything more than create entertaining books until the day I received an email from a reader who told me that she never reads, that is, until she was encouraged to read Reunion, my supernatural thriller. In her email she told me how much she loved the book and that after reading it, she discovered that she truly enjoys reading, and planned to continue doing so because of my work. Ahhhh, I can’t tell you how good that felt. Hearing that meant so much more than hearing “A great read.”
There are lots of great reads out there, but to be able to actually impact someone’s life, now that’s powerful. Who knows, maybe that lady will continue to read, grow as an individual and be something greater then she imagined because of me. That might be pushing it a bit, but hey, stranger things have happened…you know, like a homeless guy becoming a wealthy entrepreneur and a stammering king learning to deliver some of the most powerful and inspiring words ever recorded.
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, use your talents wisely. You never know how much time you have to leave your mark on the world. Will you write about the power of fear, demons, or a lunatic with a bloody ax? Or will you write about the power to overcome and defeat the weaknesses of mortal man? Whatever you choose, it will be a lasting mark, an eternal epitaph of your greater purpose.
If you’re a writer or a reader, I’d love to hear what you think.
Author of REUNION and the blog, The Writing Bomb.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow Bookhound’s Den, comment, and then go get your copy of REUNION and email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to win a Kindle on May 15th. Go to jeffbennington.com for details.
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