I meet a lot of people through meetup.com. Meetup allows people to create groups that others can join. Groups cater everything from writing to adventurous travelers to dog lovers to swingers (Uh...my friend told me about the swingers). So I decided to go to several self proclaimed geek groups to try and see why they love the things they love, the geek culture. I wasn't sure what I'd be looking for, since I wasn't going to change my books to their likings or preferences. But I did find something interesting.
Geeks are people too. Well, that wasn't the interesting part. But geeks are very passionate. I've yet to meet a non-passionate geek, or else they'd be the run-of-the-mill person. And what they're passionate about varies quite a bit.
We were all talking about what our favorite SciFi/Fantasy series were, why we loved it, and which one was better such as the classic Star Wars vs Star Trek heated debate. Most were able to pick sides. Some had to recuse themselves from choosing. Again, that's not interesting. What was insightful were the reasons behind their favorite SciFi/Fantasy stories.
Because geeks are people too, they love having their imaginations sparked and having deep conversations about what these stories mean, especially to them. For example, I personally love the original Star Wars series because of the philosophical aspects; my favorite being when Luke turned off his targeting computer and trusted the force, in essence trusting his own intuition and wisdom. Others stated they loved the social commentaries certain stories talked about like Starship Troopers, written by Robert A. Heinlin. Or the huge imaginative elements fantasies like Harry Potter portray that always delve deeper than what you see on the surface.
Whatever the reason, I realized one basic thing. Because geeks are very passionate, the storytellers must also be passionate about what they create, maybe be a little bit insane. And I think the more passionate we are about our stories, the more the audience will love them. Part of that love, for me anyways, is always the depth of the story, or simply put, what do I hope my readers will get (a deeper understanding of life?) aside from escaping their own world?
That's why I tend to be biased toward stories that have character or story arcs. There's always some sort of message that enlightens us to be a better person or make the world a better place.
One of my first writing conventions that I attended had a key speaker who was a best selling author. His poignant advise was to write what we're passionate about, what we think about everyday, what pulls us to write or tell stories. And he was right on. When actors make movies for money, we can see it. Their performances are flat. Stories are empty. We come out unchanged or unmoved. When actors are passionate about their roles, we can tell. Our heart sings when their characters succeed, cries in their pain, or rejoices in their growth. It's the actor's passion pieces.
So meeting fellow geeks only reaffirms what I had first thought when I researched what made certain authors successful. Write your passion pieces. Work on them. Love them. Stroke them. OK. I may have gone too far.