Today, I was thinking to blog about World Building, or Steampunk, as both are subjects close to my heart, but settled on the topic of "journey's" instead. Why journey's, you say?
Well, there are all kinds of journey's in life. Going on vacation is a favourite type, of course. So is starting an exercise plan. Quitting smoking. Becoming a parent. Yeah, that's a biggie, eh? A journey that never ends. But there are emotional journey's we go on as well as the physical. Like the roller coaster anxiety of writing a test. Getting married. Going through a divorce. Whatever the situation, in all journey's, who we were at the beginning of the journey is different than the person we are at the end.
Writing a book is a journey. Which is one of the reasons I started this blog, in the hopes that the ideas I stumble across on my personal journey of writing down the stories in my head, may be of use to others. I have been writing seriously now for five years. Learning and practicing the art of putting together a story, and along the way, I had to sit down and think about what it was I enjoyed most about the books I read. I mean, how can I set out to write a book if I don't know what kind of story I find most pleasing myself? What truly grips me in a book and keeps me turning the pages until 3 am, or 4, or even later, knowing full well I'll be hitting the coffee pretty heavy the next day as a result?
The answer is simple. Regardless of genre, a good story to me, is one which takes me on a journey. I grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy. Loved, from an early age, going to far-off imaginary worlds and places where I would see new and fascinating things through the eyes of the characters. But it was always the emotional journey, the choices the characters made along the way and the things they learned about themselves as a consequence, that really made the stories gripping. As I grew older, I discovered other genres: historical fiction, romance, mystery, horror. But always it was the stories where the characters went on a journey, both of body and soul, that made me never want to put the book down.
Diana Gabaldon is absolutely masterful in her scope and ability of writing a journey. In Outlander, Claire travels through time to find her true love and true self, a journey made exquisitely believable by the ofttimes painful choices Claire makes. Life is never easy, but its that very hardship which makes the achievements and joys so worth fighting for and cherishing.
And in stories, the idea is exactly the same. It doesn't matter the length or genre; as long as there is a journey that can involve the reader emotionally, the story will be successful in keeping the reader doing what we all want as writers...reading.
What are some of your favourite books? How important is the journey in them?