Friday, February 25, 2011

May I Use the Story Tonight?

You need to be careful about provoking the reader to become too thoughtful about the credibility of characters and their situations; the moment the reader becomes too thoughtful is the moment you have let something already illusive start to wriggle free.  The freedom in this case, slithered to by the reader--you, yourself if you put on your reader's hat--is the freedom, however dubious, of reason.  The moment you begin thinking at too great a length, this does not seem possible, this does not seem realistic,this does not appear believable, that moment is notable because it is the hole in the fence or fabric or whatever else you wish to call it through which the reader escapes.

This is all the more tragic because the reader does not want to escape; the reader wants to stay rooted to your narrative voice, concerned for the outcome and interactions stirred into action by the frothing of competing agendas.

The reader may begin on a note of skepticism, looking at a particular work, daring it to cause thought during the reading.  Thus you and the readier don't mind thinking after the story has concluded, but not while it is unfolding.  This should give you pause to consider such things as how much information to give at a time, how many figures of speech, which are in effect like power point presentations, so cheerful in the way they call attention to their text; how long your dialogue should go on without some interruption.  It is an enormous balancing act for the writer, so filed with enthusiasm to tell the story, so eager to explain why characters act as they do, so eager to be able to throw aside tactics of current convention.

You are among those who complain about the relative lack of reading done by those who wish to become read as well as mere readers, often forgetting the hard truth that you in your own way may be responsible for more individuals not reading because the process has been made so painful, so boring, so intense in the way it is packed with all the information you want the reader to know, even before you have provided the reader any opportunity to develop intimacy and curiosity about what is being discussed.

Ah yes, you, neither the you of metaphor nor the you of generality but the you of great, detailed specificity.

This to be said on your behalf:  You do believe the reader is better served by not knowing enough than by being spoon fed with too much,  When a reader tells you, I wish I knew more about_____, as opposed to the reader telling you, You know that long explanation of how_________ works, I have to tell you I skipped some, then you know you have achieved a better sense of balance and you are closer to where you wish to be.  You want the reader to want to know more, even though this step is a bit of a piece with loaning a Jaguar model XKE to a teenager; what the reader will do with this knowledge is often an occasion of terror for you,

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