Mar 24, 2011

Do You Trust Me?

by Kari Diane Pike

The last time I posted I vented a little bit about technology. Let me just add a little addendum. This morning I had a list of important "little" errands that, without the aid of technology, would have taken me hours to accomplish. With just the push of a few buttons, however, I renewed books from the Harold B. Lee Library, ordered and paid for products from two different companies, renewed a online course, deposited funds into a credit union account, and found a couple of original source articles for my research paper -- all before 9:00am. Now how cool is that! Of far do I trust technology?

I have been giving a great deal of thought to the concept of trust lately. My children have heard their parents say on several occasions, "My love for you is unconditional. My trust, however, you have to earn." ( I tell my computer that too, but it still resets the internet connection right in the middle of submitting keywording batches to work...Let's just say it was not pretty.) The issue of trust comes up in just about every book, fiction and nonfiction alike, that has anything to do with relationships. How many times do we hear the hero/heroine ask, "Do you trust me?"

In The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 17 - 23, Ammon establishes a relationship of trust with Lamoni and his father, the King of the Lamanites, through service, integrity and loyalty. Ammon was a man of his word and showed that he would put his own life at stake in defense of his beliefs. That relationship of trust later opened the doors for Aaron to approach the king and teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ. At first, I wondered why the Lord would send Aaron to teach the king, instead of sending Ammon to reap the rewards of the seeds he had planted when he first encountered Lamoni's father. Perhaps the king needed to hear the gospel from another witness. Learning truths from someone other than Ammon may have strengthened the king's own testimony so that he could learn that his faith (and trust) must be placed in the Savior and not in the man Ammon. As I read further about the conversion of so many of the people of the king, I marveled at the effects of trust established by just one person. Ammon's example indirectly changed the hearts of an entire people.

Trust is essential to all of our relationships: husband/wife, parent/child, friends, siblings, teachers, etc. Of course, our most important relationship is with our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ. What a joy it is to know that I can always place my trust in the Lord's hands.

As far as writing goes, trust is still a must. Our readers need to know they can trust us. I have my own thoughts about why...but I'm curious. What do you think writers owe the reader? How do writers gain a reader's trust? How do we keep it? Is it just about heroes and happy endings? Is being true to the reader more about being true to yourself? Does this make any sense at all?

oh..and Happy Spring!


  1. I think a writer owes it to a reader to stay true to the genre and the storyline. As much as I liked this fantasy series in the middle of his storyline the author switched gears to the "bad" side to explain how in fact they were not the bad side. That sucks.

  2. ooh...I agree with Terri. I hate it when authors do that.

  3. I too agree with Terri.

    Good post- given me a lot to think about.

  4. Thanks Kari, I always love to read your blogs. You provide such interesting insight. Thank you!

  5. I agree with Terri a reader has expectations when it comes to a genre, a storyline and a character. Yes, readers want characters to grow and want to be surprised but they also want to know that in a mystery the bad guy will be caught and punished or caus his own dimise; that in a romance all will be explained and forgiven and the girl and guy will get together in what we will assume will be a forever and happy relationship.
    A reader idenifies with the MC and expects to have an adventure inside a safe bubble (saved at the last second). There are areas of fictin where a reader knows the bubble is off. But for me a writer breaks that trust when they aren't true to the expectations of the genre like Terri expressed so well, or take away that safety bubble. Trust once lost with a reader may mean they never read anything else by that author.

  6. I read a discussion on Shannon Hales's blog a long time ago about this. So interesting to think about the 'contract' between an author and a reader.

    As always, you make me think, Kari. Thanks!


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.