November 24, 2015

Does Your Book Have A Message?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine

Every writer has an opportunity to influence not only his/her community but also the world.

When a writer puts words to paper, those thoughts are like the “rocks” we fling out into the water that cause ripple effects. The ripples just keep enlarging.

We never know who is going to read something we’ve written. For the most part, we never know the influence the words will have.

We are impacting our culture whether we realize it or not. The quote, "The pen is mightier than the sword” is a metonymy adage (short figure of speech). English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the sentence in 1839 for his play Richelieu.

When we are writing our books, it is important to know the audience––whom do we want to read our book?

I believe if we are fortunate enough to be a writer, that we have a responsibility to be mindful of our words to make sure we target the right audience.

I think sometimes we forget how powerful words are. I know I do.

This was brought home to me recently when I received a thank you note, from someone I don’t know. She took the time to write me after reading my book, Storms in Life, and thanked me for writing it. She specifically elaborated on how it helped her and the impact it had. She continued with letting me know she was getting a copy for a close friend of hers who was going through a tough time. She said she would also be sharing it with others.

I was humbled, to be sure, yet a realism hit me that as a writer, when I put those words to paper I am responsible for them in terms of the impact they will have on someone. It was an inspirational book and I wanted people who are going through hard times to know they can get through the storms that come into their lives. That it wasn’t hopeless.

Had I written a mystery, I would have needed to be clear in my mind how my words would impact that audience who likes mysteries. Was there a message I wanted to convey? Was there something of importance I wanted them to take away from reading the book? These things help make our books memorable.

I still remember messages from books I read in the 80’s. The impact they had on my life, my situation, my thinking and me. I even remember the author’s names.

As in life, we need to be mindful of our words. Are they words that will help the reader in their situation? Are they words that will give the reader enjoyment? Will they give them a much-needed break from their lives?

When I was younger, I heard a woman tell her friend that she chose certain movies to go to because they gave her a different world for a couple of hours. That for those two hours she didn’t have to worry about her situation.

For me, I believe God placed me where I am, and gave me the words to write in that book for such a time as that person needed to read it.

Write with purpose. Don't let your words be silent.

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