This is sort of a follow-up from my previous work, "A Dare from the Author You May Never Care to Read." After I wrote it, it occurred to me that not only does a reader have a responsibility to the writer...so the writer has a responsibility to the reader.
I remember the first book I read in which I cared whether the heroine lived or died.
Don't get me wrong, I always wanted the main character to live, but this was the first time I deeply, genuinely cared. I cried when she appeared to die and danced for joy when I found out she survived.
I remember the first book I read in which I fell deeply in love with one of the heroes.
Heart pounding, I found I blushed whenever I read his name on the page. And when he finally won the heart of the woman he sought, I imagined myself in her place and smiled and giggled incessantly at the pure sweetness of it all.
I remember the first book that changed my life.
Impacted greatly by the way the heroine stood strong in the face of the trials life presented, I resolved that I, too, would face my monsters unwaveringly.
There have been nights, so many nights, in which I am miserable from lack of sleep, but I can't get my nose out of the book I'm reading. It's like my fingers are incapable of doing anything but turning the pages of the novel, and it's 3:45 a.m., and I have finals the next day, and my brain is barely slogging through the words printed on the paper in front of me, and my thoughts are all running together, but I have to finish this chapter! Just one more chapter, and I swear, I'll be done...
(I never am)
And so, author, I dare you. I dare you to write something worth reading.
I dare you to weave together a storyline that leaves me gasping for breath, wondering how such a fine, upright character could be capable of such an evil, treacherous deed. I dare you to break my heart when my favorite character breathes his last breath. I dare you to make my heart sing when I realize the heroine withstood temptation, after all.
I dare you to write a novel so compelling that I have no choice but to run to the nearest bookstore and buy the sequel. I dare you to make me want to read more of your work.
I dare you to tear out shreds of your heart and soul and place them within the words you write, so that when I digest the words on the page, I see a glimpse of your heart. I dare you to be vulnerable, because if you don't label or embarrass yourself a little with the depth of emotion you write, I'm not going to feel anything you create.
I dare you to involve yourself in your novel. I dare you to be fascinated with the subject of your writing, because if you don't care about your book or poem, I'm sure as heck not going to care, either.
Most of all, though, I dare you to be passionate. To do the work. I dare you to pull all-nighters and drink unholy amounts of caffeine and run around crazily with pens and papers and scribble down every bit of writing inspiration that comes to you, even if it's at a diner in the middle of the night with a group of friends, and all you have to write with is a crayon, and all you have to write on is a napkin. I dare you to throw yourself into your writing, no matter what the circumstances or consequences.
I dare you to be a writer worth reading.