Thursday, December 13, 2012

Living



I’ve lately been reading a story, and while the story is good, and the writing is clean, I feel that the author is telling me a story, instead of me living the story.  There’s nothing wrong exactly, but it’s not quite there.  I think being told the story and living the story is difference between a good story and a great story, more so than whether the writing is "good". 

What do you think?  Do you see a difference?

25 comments:

  1. Definitely. If I'm in the story, if my emotions engage and it becomes personal, it's a great story.

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    1. We do need that emotional engagement.

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  2. I agree with you 100%. If the author is just telling the story, it doesn't give the reader a chance to get emotionally involved, so we hardly have a reason to care.

    Without the reader caring, the story will never be great.

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  3. Absolutely. That's the difference between voice and deep POV. I'm wondering if we're reading the same story because I also feel as if I'm reading and not living it. Which is fine. But there's a huge difference. I love losing myself in the story, so when my hubby calls my name, I'm actually jarred back into the present.

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  4. Well, I've actually had that said about one of my manuscripts. After reading this post and the comments, I know I've got to figure out how to fix it. Thanks, Sara.

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    1. Yea, I've heard that comment too. I think it's something writers always be working on.

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  5. I do, because I'm reading one like that myself at the moment! In a way I sort of resent not being one hundred percent in the character's mind, because I feel like the author is holding out truths simply to reveal something at the end. If you're not going to tell all about a character's motives, don't include that character's pov as part of the narration!

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    1. I read one like that. Where the pov character went along and we thought one thing, then later at the climax he told us, oh, yea, I did that and that and so it was really this other way. Surprise. I understand that the author did it for dramatic tension but I felt kind of cheated, like it was a cheap parlor trick.

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    2. Wonder if it was the same book? :-)

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  6. There's definitely a difference, and I think getting the reader to live the story is that intangible thing we all strive to do. Got any magic tips? :)

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    1. I wish. Intangible is a great word for it.

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  7. Telling mostly. I must remind myself as I write my next manuscript to always show when I can.

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  8. I agree. When we don't feel the emotions of the story, we don't feel apart of it.

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  9. That's a great way of putting it. I sometimes have trouble pinpointing just why a story isn't working, I just know that it isn't.

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    1. It is sometimes hard to pinpoint and often it might be a combination of things.

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  10. I agree!
    When you're so deep into a story, in the middle of all the action, that the world around you fades... then you know you're living the story.

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  11. I agree as well. If the story reads like a speech and not a story, then I'll fade out and read something else.

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    1. Those stories are easy to put down and forget about.

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