I’ve been thinking about what to write next here and while I have nothing to write, I have some thoughts today about writing. Actually, I’ve had these thoughts for a while now. Last night, I was looking at another web magazine to potentially send one of my short stories to and as I searched through some of their submission guidelines, I saw that they were really interested in stories with relatable characters. Specifically, they are interested in characters that you can care about.
Like I’ve said, it is something that I have been thinking about for a while and it is also something that others have pointed out to me, though not always with regards to my characters, but with regards to how relatable my stories can be for a reader. Sometimes I can totally get to that place, you know? I can write something that some people can totally understand and relate to: tapping into a common human emotion or drive to do so. Some also call it “the universal human experience.”
Other times, especially when I was younger or I haven’t socialized in a while I make stories that can get pretty abstract or philosophical. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does change who your audience is and how relatable the story can be. One thing that my former teachers used to say to us was that even your choice of language or diction–of how you say something–affects how someone can relate to your work. It is also clear that if no one can relate to your work, it probably won’t go far.
So I looked at the stories I considered sending to this magazine and I realize that perhaps they are not as relatable as I would like. However, one other thing I have learned is that sometimes the writer of a story is not always the best judge of all of its elements. Certainly, maybe some other character-driven stories in a unique background might be in order. I’ll get back to you on that.