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Monday, May 27, 2013

Writing Books That Last by Janice Seagraves

Yesterday in history: May 26, 1897: When Bram Stoker's Dracula was published, 116 years ago today, it was already part of a vampire literary tradition dating back to the mid-18th century.

 There's a lot to be said for a book that's lasted, and is still read today, for well over a hundred years.

Something about his writing touched the human spirit and scared a lot of people.

Charles Dickens wrote to escape a brutal childhood:

His stories touch the child in us.

Iam Fleming used more active words to win his audience: His books are still being turned into movies today. 007 lives on.

I don't have the magic formula to write a masterpiece that will last the test of time (who wouldn't want that?), but the trick seems to be to touch your audience in such a way that it resonates with the reader.

What do you think?

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Tina Donahue said...

Great blog, Janice. To me, books are about people and what happens to them. They're not about sex, car chases, explosions, political ideologies, supernatural creatures, etc. etc. They're about people - even dead ones (vampires) or strange ones (shifters). IMO, if you make your people believable and make their stories compelling, touching something all of us have faced (love, loss, sorrow, joy) you've succeeded as an author.

Melissa Keir said...

I agree with Tina. At the heart of all books (romances esp.) are the relationships. I can't say that enough. If I don't care about the characters as a reader, I won't read it.

Maybe someday one of our books will stand the test of time, but certainly we will have made some readers' lives more enjoyable. I know my favorite authors have done that!

Sandy said...

Gone With the Wind is a prime example of characters we route for and want them to survive. It was a romance, and it's a classic I'll never forget.

Cara Marsi said...

I agree with Tina and Melissa that books are about the people and relationships. Clearly, the classics are books that resonate because we've come to identify with the characters. Sandy is right about Gone With the Wind. I've read it several times and seen the movie several times. Unforgettable characters.

I just read The Great Gatsby for the first time. Really enjoyed it. Fitzgerald was an amazing writer. Of all the characters the one I related to was the narrator, Nick Carraway. Because we saw the story through his eyes, I felt I knew him. IMHO, the character of Gatsby isn't as well developed.

jean hart stewart said...

Don't we all wish we could write something that would resonate through the years. Wow, that would be wonderful.....

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Tina,

Thank you. I like the way you put it.

Hi Melissa,

That would be wonderful.

Hi Sandy,

I thought of adding Gone with the Wind to my post. :)

Hi Cara,

I really should have added Gone with the Wind, lol.

I haven't read the Great Gatsby, so I'll take your word for it. :)

Hi Jean,

Yes, that would be. :)


Liz said...

anything Charles Dickens wrote reflects its age so well. But I love The Great Gatsby for reflecting a certain time of life in young America.

LKF said...

Hey Janice,
I love the classics. Gone with the Wind, The great Gatsby, they're all good. They are like everyone said, real stories. No explosions or special effects. Just a great read.

Harlie Reader said...

I would agree with Gone With the Wind, too. Classic literature for anyone and everyone to read.

As for the classics that have stood the test of time for me:

The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Sum of All Fears (my intro to Jack Ryan) and any Judy Blume book.


Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Liz,

I haven't read the Great Gatsby but there more interest in it now that the (new) movie came out.

Hi Lynda,

Yeah, that's true. They do pull you out of your world and into the book with out special effects.

Hi Harlie,

When I was younger I read The Count of Monte Cristo, Man in the Iron Mask and some others in the same vein. They're are wonderful stories that have lasted the test of time.


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