As with with a delightful musical, your story ought to end as if it were singing. When the final page is read and the cover is regretfully closed, resonance is what should remain. Resonance fuels the highest compliment an author can receive: a second read. And, well, a heartfelt recommendation to friends…
At its best, fiction is all about what it means to be human. A well-told story engages the heart and emotions, but it’s more than that. Dare I say it touches the spirit? The soul? Resonance is what makes a story personally meaningful.
Can I deliberately structure a story to have this quality? Ha, no! (Will jumping up and down mean I’ll be nearer to the starry sky and see better? Not!) In this, I have only myself as a guide. I stumble ahead, writing what delights and engages me. Will some of my readers be swept away as well? Proof’s in the pudding, as they say!
I enjoy camaraderie in a book, you know, the friendship thing. I want to be chased into Narnia by lions with A Horse and His Boy. I want to spar with Mr. Rochester, and later set out across the moor (heartbroken but with dignity intact), along with Jane Eyre. Or tramp the Shire with Frodo and Merry and Pippin and Sam. Or scout coons along the river at night with Billy and his hounds in Where The Red Fern Grows. That inclusive thing is what I’m going for when I write.
Figuring out what to share from from Darcy By Any Other Name is becoming more difficult, because I shouldn’t give spoilers. So here’s a bit from Chapter 5 , where Darcy discovers not only how rude his aunt is to underlings, but also that there are advantages to being Collins.
Lady Catherine dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief. “I loathe the sickroom,” she stated, “perhaps because I am never ill. I daresay if I had ever learnt to nurse someone—”
Darcy set his teeth, for he knew where this remark was heading. The audacity of his aunt, to give voice to such an outrageous thought! Was she truly so self-absorbed?
“—I would have been,” she continued, “a great proficient.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that, ma’am,” Darcy said, before he could stop himself. “It occurs to me that you have had many opportunities to nurse and encourage your daughter.”
Darcy snapped his lips shut. Curse his unruly tongue! He knew that he ought to follow up with one of Collins’ babbling compliments, but he could think of nothing to say.
Of their own accord, his lips came to his rescue and formed Collins’ simpering smile. “So you see,” he heard himself squeak out, “you are proficient at nursing, milady, er, without realizing it.”
Lady Catherine stood blinking, trying to determine if this was a compliment.
Darcy hid a grin and added (in his best Collins-like manner), “Such fundamental skills must surely descend from your ancient, noble, and exalted family lineage.”
Ha, this was rather fun!
For tomorrow, S is for Sex–or, well…not. If you’ve read my stuff, you know where I stand, but hey, let’s talk about it!
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