Guest Post: cj petterson

Today we welcome cj petterson to the blog.

ebook-cover-the-possecj Sez: Relationships. I’ve read some really good articles recently on this subject, and the following essay is a product of some of the things I’ve learned.

The dictionary defines the word this way:

[ri-ley-shuh n-ship]

1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.

Really, you don’t need another person to have a relationship. You can have a relationship with anything, animate or inanimate

In the movie Turner and Hooch, Tom Hanks’s Turner character builds a crazy relationship with a big, slobber-faced dog. You have a compulsively neat, bachelor detective whose tidy world encounters household destruction and chaos. . . The Odd Couple redux.

In the 2000 movie Castaway, Tom Hanks’s marooned character creates a relationship with an inanimate object. A Wilson volleyball takes on a persona. He gives it a face and a name and talks to it as if were another person. . . In the mid-1970s, it was the Pet Rock craze.

Every day we interact with animals, objects, and people of all stripes—family, friends, coworkers, strangers, et al. Our relationship with each is different, depending on the need.

Authors create relationships (interactions) between characters in their stories.

cr-deadly-bundle-calif-kiss-17-01-30One of the most important relationships authors can have is the one they have with their readers…the relationship they build with their writing.

If I’ve gotten you interested enough to continue reading this brief essay, then I’m beginning to build a relationship with you. This is about how long I can continue to entertain your interest in what I’m saying…the excitement of learning something new or discovering a statement that suddenly makes sense to you.

One comment I read on author/reader relationships went something like… “I don’t need every detail explained to me. Rather, let me see the details and discern for myself.”

This is how stories must progress if you’re going to keep your audience interested in your work. Write the truth. Appeal to their intellect. This is especially true for fans of mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. These readers love to learn something new. They’d rather not be told but want to discover things on their own. They want to feel smart at having figured out the puzzle. It’s about writing in Deep Point of View. It’s about positive reinforcement. We all need it.

A writer’s skill at creating a story that draws in a reader emotionally and intellectually is what keeps the reader coming back for more. That’s when you’ve got the beginnings of a relationship.

So, how do you maintain and grow your fan base? Know your intended audience as thoroughly as you know your characters, understand their wants, and write the best story you can that appeals to their emotions and intellect.

Caveat: It is the author’s responsibility to maintain the relationship. The reader doesn’t owe you anything and can end this promising author/reader relationship at any time, sometimes for no apparent reason.


cj petterson
Amazon Central Author Page:
Choosing CarterKindle / Nook / Kobo / iTunes/iBook
Deadly StarKindle / Nook / Kobo
blog at:
California Kisses — a 10-book bundle of romance stories 99 cents on Amazon
Coming in mid-February 2017—“Bad Day at Round Rock” a short story in The Posse, a Western anthology of tales of action, romance, myth and truth.



10 thoughts on “Guest Post: cj petterson”

  1. cj, thanks for visiting! I see that in crime fiction a lot – and I’m one of those “don’t explain everything” to me readers. When the author gets overly expositional, I get bored. On the flip side, if the author doesn’t show enough, I’m lost. Not a great way for starting a relationship!


  2. Hi CJ – welcome to the blog – so true, the most important relationship is between author and reader and between reader and story. If a reader feels they inhabit the story landscape right alongside the characters, magic happens. I’m looking forward to picking up a copy of The Posse.


  3. Thank you, Keenan, Kait, Sue, and Liz, for your comments. I love it when I manage to hit the “sweet spot” in a post …the one that other authors recognize. I’ll be happy to send you an ARC of The Posse anthology once it’s out. Drop me an eMail and I get it back to you and I’d be Real Happy if you’d give it an honest review. Thanks again for reading and commenting. (Sorry I was so late in answering. I’ve been totally off-line on a cruise.) Marilyn (aka “cj”)


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