Friday, February 16, 2018

What makes a book resonate?

Most good writers are avid readers. 

Do you ever wonder what it is about a book that speaks to you as a reader? Do you ever dissect a story to see what hits all the important notes? Namely, the: 

  • Head
  • Heart
  • Gut
  • Spirit
If a novel resonates in all of these areas it's a five star read for me. If it makes me think, then my head is satisfied. If I feel emotions (laugh, cry...) then it has reached my heart. If something in the story gets me in the gut, you know that intense episode that makes your breath catch or gets you really angry, that's a gut buster. And last, but never least, does the novel or characters within it touch my spirit or give me the feeling of peace or move me to the depths of my being?

A novel that does all that is a totally winner!

Many of the books I've read satisfy three of the four. I can't really say why, except that not all of these components are completely addressed. Some quiet or fun books are great for spending a few hours of entertainment and relaxation and that's quite all right. When I read a book that addresses all four I sometimes need a break and the quiet/fun read fits the bill nicely.

What is your go to genre for entertainment only? A little romance is always nice. Or maybe a fantasy romp fits the bill. Many of us prefer to read a couple of genres most of the time, but spice it up occasionally with something different. I love mysteries, historical and contemporary women's fiction. That's a broad arena that also generally gives me a bit of romance, too. Consequently, I write in these genres.


Do my books hit all of the magic four, probably not? I can only think of a few books that impacted all four for me and I've given them all five stars on "To Kill a Mockingbird" was the first novels that nailed all four items for me. Recently, "The Nix" and "The Kite Runner." Most novels fall in the four star range, "I really liked it", which is satisfying but not life changing. Fast reads that I enjoy fall in the "I like it" category, but not "love."

I have a note on my desk blotter with Head, Heart, Gut and Spirit written on it and always visible. When I'm writing and I pause to clear my mind or allow my train to get back on track my eyes often fall on those words. It's a good goal to reach for all of these in your writing.

Much good luck and keep up the good work, fellow writers. I hope you enjoy the journey.

Facebook: Bonnie D Tharp Books
Amazon: Bonnie Tharp Author Page


Jacqueline Seewald said...


Very original! I've never heard it expressed that way before, but you're right. As readers we want books that engage us on every possible level. As writers, it's important to analyze the components of good writing so that we can emulate them.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Jacqui -
I'm nothing if not original. Hope it is helpful to other writers. It's been helpful to me. Have a great weekend!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Books that resonate with me on ALL levels get higher review stars...
Great post
Good luck and God's blessings

Bonnie Tharp said...

Thanks, Pam. I'm with you!

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