Books, novels, novellas, whatever term you use it does not really matter. Neither does it matter, in this instance, if you are reading a hard cover book, a paperback or even an e-reader. Because this post is about the story that lays within, not the format, or the classification of book.
The story is a wonderful gift, a plot of dirty deeds, or raunchy romance, death and detection, love and betrayal. But as a reader have you considered how the author weaves such magic in a way that draws into this fantasy, deep into this netherworld of imagination?
Have you wondered how you, a regular, normal person can be transported into the past, or to a tropical paradise, or even flung far into the future, possibly into a world where dragons and myth are real?
Whether you are laying on a recliner by the pool, soaking up the sun at the beach, or simply curled up in your armchair at home, a book is a magical portal, a gateway to another life, through which you can escape the humdrum of everyday tasks, at least for a while.
When you immerse yourself into a story the mundane evaporates, disappears into the shadows of forgotten responsibilities, while you become absorbed into your own private world, a world that no other person can ever become part of.
Now you may find my last statement somewhat beguiling.
Why would I say that no other person could possibly enter the same world as you? After all you are reading just one copy, a single edition of a book. Clearly many others are reading, or have read the same story? Therefore they too must be in, or have visited, this fantastical world you now find yourself in?
Unlike watching the television, a downloaded video, or visiting the cinema where you sit with family and friends watching precisely the same action, hearing the same sounds and voices together, a book is a far more personal experience. It is a unique individual encounter.
Allow me if you will to explain.
When you read a story your eyes will be scanning the chains of words that have been sequenced by the author. Yet it is not the author that is telling you the story. It is not these chains of words, mere ink blobs on the pages that paint the pictures in your mind which lead you from one scene to another. For between those words and you there lies an invisible entity, and here lies the first of the true magic of a book.
Wonderful plays and fantastic films work from the basis of good and creative script writing, however assisting the scriptwriters to deliver the words to an audience, in a manner the will capture their attention, are the actors and actresses.
The ability to deliver a speech or to convey dialogue convincingly is a wonderful skill. Alas, no book has the benefit of actors strutting the boards of those flimsy paper pages.
What a book does have is the invisible entity that I mentioned earlier. A book has narrative. The narrative is, in simple terms, the style in which the author has written.
Without becoming too technical, I am writing this in a style that is far removed from that which I am using to write the novel I am currently working on. The way that you are reading this is the way I have deliberately formatted my narration. In this instance as if I am speaking, talking directly to you personally.
I hope I have explained that clearly?
The second reason that reading a book is such a personal experience is, that as you read your mind creates a world so real and so detailed, and in such a subjective form, that it is only possible for it to exist in your own imagination.
Take a simple statement: The long black sedan drew up to the pavement outside the hotel.
If it were a film I would agree because we would have both seen the same car, drive up to the same hotel, from the same direction, in the same weather conditions, at the same time of day….same….same…same.
However, when you are absorbed into the storyline of a book, you have to create that car, imagine which direction it is driving, how the daylight reflects from its bodywork as it drives under the portico of the main entrance….oh wait, your hotel did not have a portico? And it was not in a city centre…that’s ok, because that is your story. In mine it was so, the car was a stretched Lincoln continental, what was it in yours? What time of day did you create for your story?
So now you are beginning to understand the true magic of a well written story, the amazing mystical power of narration. That is why I love the written word, fictional tales. I love books above any other form of media for regaling a story.
That is why I love to write.