Does what we write affect our reader's relationships? This is a question that first occurred to me before I wrote to be published. Back in those days, before computers were in every home, I would write stories for my Mom and one or two of my closest friends.
At that time a close friend's husband said to me, "I can always tell what part of a book my wife is reading, whether it was something I wrote or something she had bought."
When I asked him why he said that he went on to explain, "When the characters were at odds with each other, his wife would always find some reason to be a odds with him - always."
So I watched, and since we often read the same books I found it to be true. Now I'll admit they didn't have the most stable relationship, however, since then I've noticed this happens in other relationships as well.
When we as authors compose 'love stories' do we consider our readers might judge their romances by the ones we write? This is another area to keep in mind though I doubt it will affect our characters. After all who wants a wimpy werewolf, vampire or can conceive of a warrior without those bulging pecks?
Few authors write heroes as the skinny kid down the block with heavy glasses and a really poor complexion. Sure there have been some but generally these underwritten heroes turn out to have a secret cave where they change into a costume of black, bullet proof fabric, a full cowling mask and boots that allow him to walk up walls, OR, they slip into the now antiquated phone booth to emerge in a red and blue outfit complete with cape and their here-to-fore ability to fly - emerges. And - not to forget - he could possibly be a wizzard.
Our heroes make it difficult for the average good looking guy to measure up, not to mention the geeky guy who would be a considerate and caring partner in life. But that's why we write the stories we do - an ESCAPE for our readers, as well as our own imaginations. I plead guilty!
As a writer we are responsible to our readers to provide a good, entrancing plot. A good love story, adventure, thriller or whatever genre we write. If we produce a weak story we certainly won't sell many books. Besides who wants to waste time on such things, I don't. I doubt any author does. And we certainly aren't responsible for the condition of a couples' relationship - having no way of knowing what is going on in a persons' life. But its food for thought for us all - something the other authors might have noticed or thought of and would like to comment on.
Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback if you've notice this phenomenon occurring in the life of your readers or friends.