In response to Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: That Stings!
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.”
If this were true then we would all be reading the Monster Book of Monsters that Hagrid used as reference material for his Care of Magical Creatures course.
Although, I do agree the essence behind Kafka’s words. We read book that stings us.
Well, if they are talking about the book stinging since there were many mistakes in writing then the last such book I read was… the first draft of my next novel. (But that is what first drafts are all about, right? They are supposed to suck)
But, if it means in a way in which it has moved me and left me with a scar, then the last book I read such would be… still the first draft of my next novel. (Yes, I am sociopath enough to say that)
Although, I do believe there is still a long way to go for my work to come in the leagues of the books that leave a great stinging sensation.
I remember the first time I felt it – the death of Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Final Problem’ (The book, of course, not the BBC Series). I didn’t know then that Holmes has faked his death and was eternally devastated.
Although, Doyle gave into public pressure and brought Holmes back from death (which I would never have), I did learn that to make a great book, we have to bleed on its pages. Not literally—that would just spoil the pages and smudge your words.
It goes without question that the best book of this type that I have come across remains ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’. There might be books better at being ruthless but I have not come across them yet.
Sometimes, though, the characters don’t need to die for the words to sting. Sometimes the characters just have to feel raw human emotions. Take Nicholas Sparks for example. Although, I have only read one of his books—True Believers (Anything with a romantic theme sets me running for cover in underground shelters), I did realise why immensely popular his writing is. His characters are human. They are a part of a society and they act just that way. And when the characters then emote, they seem to be a part of us.
So, whatever way you choose to write make sure the words sting, because a sting sticks on.
Till then, from one writer to another, WRITE ON!