Writing as Conversation with Readers

One of the guest stops on my Daughter Am I blog tour is the Second Wind Publishing Blog. I talk about a fan letter  (well, fan email) I received, and cite a quote by John Cheever, “I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss — you can’t do it alone.”

Many writers don’t consider readers — they write solely for themselves, or at least they say they do — but often as I am writing a passage (or more precisely, after I have written it), I wonder what readers will think. Will they understand my references? Will they find the humor? Is my writing clear enough? I like thinking that perhaps someday a reader will share the product of my mind.

Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire responded to my guest post with, “Whether it’s a book, poem, post, review, article or news story, I always hope somebody will say something. One never knows. It’s a slow conversation, so much time having gone by between the moment when something was written and the moment when somebody tells you they found it.”

Such a wonderful description of writing/reading — a slow conversation. I know I’ve read many books where I felt the author and I were having a conversation, silent though it may be. I read and I think about what I read. It’s quite a heady realization that now I am a writer with readers of my own.

If you’re interested in reading the original blog post, you can find it here: Writing Without a Reader is Like a Kiss Without a Partner.

I am also at the D.C. Examiner today: Pat Bertram speaks about her novels and her writing

Today is the last day for the Clue Game at the Simpson Haunted Mansion

Also, this is your last opportunity to leave a comment to win Daughter Am I from: Book Reviews by Bobbie

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8 Responses to “Writing as Conversation with Readers”

  1. Sage Darien Says:

    PS. I’ve left you a little something on my blog. Check it out 🙂

  2. knightofswords Says:

    Sometimes I think I partly understand movie star groupies who follow a star for so long, they begin to imagine they are actually part of the star’s life. During the slow, figurative conversation with an author or a reader that occurs when one reads the book of another, it’s easy to believe the whole discussion happened over a cup of coffee. Sadly, the author and reader can pass each other on the street unaware of the conversation that meant so much to both of them.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      In a way, I suppose it’s just as well the author and reader only meet between the pages of the book. The author can keep the illusion that his reader is brilliant and discerning, and the reader can keep the illusion that the author is somehow an exalted being who doesn’t slurp his coffee or get spaghetti stains on his ragged tee shirt.

  3. joylene Says:

    I love my readers. I can’t say that enough. I had one young woman come to a reading with her mother. She was so excited, she had her mum do all the talking. It was surreal. But I’ll remember always, now won’t I?

    Great post, Pat.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      How wonderful to get to meet your readers like that! You’re right, you’ll remember it always. I wonder if the big time authors lose that? They all seem to have such contempt for their readers, and it comes through in their prose.

  4. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Ah, I missed the haunted mansion, but I enjoyed playing (then son came home…) I like the idea of a conversation with the reader. Fits with the idea that the reader has to trust the writer to guide the conversation well. (And yes, I trust you 🙂 )

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s true — the author does guide the conversation. The reader can react, can diverge, can argue, but still, the topic is what the author sets down. As for your trusting me — thank you. What a great compliment!

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