October 23, 2017

Resonance in Writing Fiction, Part Two

By Grace Greene

This is the second part of my two-part post about resonance in writing and how it impacts both writer and reader. I hope you enjoyed the first part! Here’s the rest:

The day that Hannah Cooper (from THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES) showed up in my writing room, and I watched her throwing a pot on that well-used potter's wheel, suddenly, I was flooded with the memory of how that soft clay felt in my hands many years ago when I visited the pottery studio in Kentucky, and even before that in the art room in high school. I relived my own hands wedging the clay, centering it, shaping it with the wheel spinning and the clay resisting until the clay body yielded to the pressure of my fingers and began changing in cooperation with them. I remembered the satisfaction—the wholeness of it as a process from unformed clay to final glazed and fired creation.

As I thought about Hannah and what her life experience had been, I also remembered those winter nights in Kentucky where, after cleaning up the clay, the tools, the wheel, I’d gone out into the freezing night to return home. My hands, tender from those hours of shaping wet clay and washing up in soapy water, would crack and bleed during the short walk to my car. Before going to bed, I would cover my hands with Nivea cream and don yellow rubber gloves. I slept wearing those gloves so that my cracked and bleeding flesh would heal quickly and I could get back to working the clay.

While writing Hannah’s story, I remembered the clay and my hands working it, shaping it. I saw my hands, but I also saw Hannah’s hands. Her fingers were longer and slenderer than mine, and her nails were shorter. Even now, I feel the rhythm of that wheel at work, turning and turning, and I hear Hannah humming softly, lost in the act of creation, in tune with the song of the turning wheel. So, I heard Hannah’s voice and I wrote the story of her early life in Cooper’s Hollow, and of her returning there as an adult. There were difficult parts and lots of painful editing, but it felt like a privilege. In many ways, Hannah Cooper’s story resonated with me and I had no choice but to write it, and to gift some of my own memories to her story. When you read THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES you’ll recognize some of the story elements I’ve mentioned above.

My story. Hannah’s story. Different people, different storiesone real and one totally fictional—and I chased that resonance to the end until the book was finished. For the reader, the intersection of the finished book with their own real-life experiences completes the resonant journey. It is as if I have passed a dream or a memory—or perhaps even a small, newly-created world—to someone else via that story.

Story elements with the potential to resonate are almost limitless because it depends upon who’s doing the reading and the writing. Working with clay is one example of what resonated with me as the author writing this book, and I hope it will connect with some readers. Other elements in Hannah Cooper’s story—elements and details that may not have seemed especially important to me at the time I wrote Hannah’s story—may resonate more strongly with other readers. That’s why it’s all important—all the details and elements of our lives and our stories that resonate between us and connect us.

Happy reading and happy resonance!
Grace Greene writes women's fiction and contemporary romance with suspense. A Virginia native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. Please visit Grace at and sign up for her newsletter there.The Emerald Isle books, BEACH RENTAL and BEACH WINDS, are set in North Carolina where "It's always a good time for a love story and a trip to the beach." Or travel down Virginia Country Roads in KINCAID'S HOPE, A STRANGER IN WYNNEDOWER, and CUB CREEK and "Take a trip to love, mystery and suspense. Her most recent release is THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN and her next will be THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES was release on 9/5/17 BEACH RENTAL, her debut novel, won the Booksellers Best contest in both the Traditional and Best First Book categories. BEACH RENTAL and BEACH WINDS were each awarded 4.5 stars, Top Pick by RT Book Reviews magazine.
Grace lives in central Virginia. Her Social Media links are: Website  Twitter  Facebook

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