My writing friend and I were talking about how wonderful it would be to write something that survived through time, like an “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” or “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” People may not remember the writers’ names down through the ages, but they will remember Alice and Dorothy and their supporting characters. (The writers are Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum, respectively.)
We talked about what made these stories last. They were of course, universal in their message about seeking home and the adaptation of children. But they were also compelling stories.
Do I want to write such compelling stories?
The meaning of compelling in Encarta Dictionary, my trusted companion, is: Attracting strong interest and attention.
After all, don’t all writers want to reel readers in and keep them turning the pages, or scrolling on their Kindles? How to do so is the biggest challenge and something we all strive for.
On a Google search for “what is compelling writing,” that marvelous search engine spit back some 62,400,000 results. Wow. The advice is varied and prolific. Terrific characters. Style. Dialogue. Great concept. Great writing. And on into writing infinity.
This advice is not a mystery of life. It’s want we should be doing every time we sit down and write, but sometimes we forget about what it’s called. Don’t we get so busy cranking out pages, we forget to add the ingredients to make those pages compelling?
We all have our own ways to reach the nirvana of compelling. Here’s mine: If I’m not compelled by what I write then how in the blazes can anyone else be compelled. If I’m falling asleep during a chapter, that chapter needs work. If I don’t love the characters, even when they are bad people, no one else will. If my writing doesn’t sing, it will snooze. You get the idea.
I told my friend that of course, I would love to write something that stood the test of time. I’m not sure I will, but it’s something to shoot for. Like Dorothy trying to get home or Alice dealing with the strangest characters this side of Vegas. Is it work? Is it worth the effort?