The latest issue of Writer’s Digest has a wonderful article on Archer Mayor. He’s a medical examiner, but technically he states his title is “Death Investigator.” Mr. Mayor writes police procedurals and because of his background and experience, he has a lot of ideas from which to draw.
Mr. Mayor said while leading a writing workshop he wondered, “What makes a happy reader?” His answer is allowing the reader in. Develop your plot and characters so that readers are pulled into the story – the story becomes their own.
He said, “You don’t want them to even know you are in the room.”
This statement hit home. While waiting for my second author presentation, those gathered early started to discuss my book with me. But before I knew, they were talking amongst themselves about the characters – like I wasn’t even in the room. It was a strange feeling, but I took it as a huge compliment. As Elizabeth George says, when people are talking about your book, they are talking about the characters. And that was what was happening. I had let my readers in. My characters were very real to these readers.
I am rereading the article on Archer Mayor, titled “The Corpse Stops Here,” because this author provides great advice and food for thought for my writing life.