There’s a bit at the beginning of Romancing the Stone when Kathleen Turner is typing out the end of her epic love story and is in pieces over the typewriter. She’s wiping snot off her face and it’s a full on tear moment. I love that bit – it’s what I always try to achieve when I reach the end of a book. If I can make me cry I’ve done something I like.
Mad, isn’t it?
Actually WANTING to cry.
Then I saw this on Twitter – a response from Author Liz Flanagan to a reader who had just finished Eden Summer.
Always happy to hear I caused tears 🌦 https://t.co/c0m5D1y62i
— Liz Flanagan (@lizziebooks) October 15, 2016
A couple of days before that someone sent me a text about Murder in Midwinter, suggesting that by the end of it they had cried. I was delighted.
How strange to want to produce tears? To want to make people cry?
When (in a former life) I used to do window displays, I longed to cause an accident at the traffic lights. Not a big accident, a little tiny bumper scrape accident would have been a major result – or someone just missing the lights, failing to take off when they turned green.
I think I wanted it because it was a reaction – and essentially, we long for a reaction to our work. Positive or negative. From when we’re very small, and we experimentally pour sugar into our brother’s fizzy drink on a train and it erupts all over the carriage (this happened by the way) and our mother leaps up and shouts and everyone runs around – we want a reaction. It’s normal. When we write a passage that makes people cry, we’ve reached them – our words have actually touched someone, which is a major victory.
it’s possibly kind of why we writers put ourselves out there. All that advice about not reading reviews – well I can’t help doing it. Good or bad. I can’t possibly pretend I write entirely for myself – I write for an audience, and I want that audience to react. Cry, laugh, write me a good review.
Write me a bad review.
But please don’t ignore me.