I’ve learned something from the last three books I’ve read. The people who know me are going to all laugh at me, but it’s a new revelation for me, so lay off, okay?

I’ve discovered that what I like to write are books about relationships. I like to study two people or more revolving around each other like planets. Books can be about world building and unique environments. Books can be about action and plot. My books also have these things. But mostly, my books have a relational heart.

I like to read and write about how people bounce around in each other’s orbits, how the tugs and pulls of one affect the actions of another. I want everything in my stories to revolve around the relationship. From there I’ll bring in what it takes to make that relationship work.

I want to spend my literary career writing about Frodo and Sam. About Schmendrick and the Unicorn. About Kavalier and Clay. About Kate and Cecy. About the Count of Monte Cristo, Mercedes, and the 3 guys who set them up. And everything else sort of falls out from around the heart.

I notice that this is not what all books are about. I’ve read some very successful books that weren’t recently, and I just couldn’t do them. As a reader, a book without a relational heart turns me into ADD lass. I can only do plot and worlds and even pretty writing so long without a heart, regardless of genre. That’s probably my new question to ask before I pick up a book to read. What kinds of relationships does this book have that will keep me interested?

The next set of questions I have inevitably lead me to what does this mean for me as a writer? Lots of different kinds of books sell. Where does a relationship writer go? Especially one who isn’t naturally inclined toward romance.

Two questions then, for all of you:

First, what characterizes your writing, do you think?
Secondly, what are your favorite books, or who are your favorite writers who focus on relationships?


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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