the way you make me feel/you knock me off of my feet

i am contemplating the very different effects books can have on the reader.  i am very curious about this.

i noticed that reading the Twilight series was like a high-speed immersion laced with urgency.  i am going to generalize that this is a common effect of the series on more than just myself – the  Twilight compulsion to read them all in a row in a tight time frame is much discussed, blogged and documented.

i felt that when i had to stop reading and put the book down, that the story was continuing without me, and i had to hurry to get back so as not to miss anything. like in harry potter, the book was full of moving scenes, lying on my dining table in full motion while i was folding laundry and missing it all.

i am at the moment deeply in love with The Little Book by Selden Edwards, but the reading effect is drastically different.  when i anticipate having to stop and put the book down, i have a moment’s feeling of anticipatory sadness and wistfulness, as if to say ‘i shall miss you’ and know that i have to begin the process of letting go.  rather than missing out on the story, i feel as though it slowly fades to black in tableau, and waits for my return.  similarly, when i pick the book up and resume reading, slowly the shadowed and dark images in my mind colour and brighten and envelop me into the story, and it stands like moving 3D pop-up in my mind, or like watching an old film reel, and i am again immersed. or like sticking my head into Dumbledore’s pensieve.

there’s my noticing.  now, my thinking on this… and i think i may never discover answers, but such is the beauty of reading.  what skills, traits of the writer imbue their work with qualities to affect this? are there specific words they use to make the reader unconsciously feel one way or another or another?  is it an indescribable je ne sais quoi that the writer possesses that just happens when they tell their story?  is this something another aspiring writer can learn to do, is this a seventh trait?  what is IT that makes the experience?  is it the story line itself?  the writing technique?  is one better than another?  does a writer consistently have the same effect in all their writings, or does it change by story?  how will i uncover answers?

what about you – have you discovered books that have had such effects on you, or different feelings? share effects or powerful books in the comments!

add some computer technology to make a story tableau come to life like wizard pictures from Harry Potter – learn how at Photojojo


how a small visualization helps me see her as a real person

have you seen the sticky notes in my book?  have you SEEN THEM??!  i have a lot.  i have to get going here.

i have some theories about some of the endless, repetitive, mundane things that our author has published for us.  i will save that for later, but it relates to what’s below.

p.33 my first thoughts when i read the following were along the lines of “whhhooooooo CARES. blah blah blah”.

When I was finished with that, I took my book bag upstairs. Before starting my homework, I changed into a pair of dry sweats, pulled my damp hair into a pony tail, and checked my e-mail for the first time.  I had three messages.

i tend to do the skim and scan and skip ahead thing when i read passages like this.  but a re-read and a pause to stop and think made me notice that these two sentences were making an image in my mind; I was visualizing as I read them.  More interestingly, visualizing the character doing these really mundane, normal, everyday, behind the scenes things was helping me to “see” her as a real person, as a person like me, or to see her/watch her as i would a friend.  If we really buy into the first-person narration, then visualizing this helps me to take on her perspective and be part of the action – to see “myself” looping my hair through my elastic etc (which my schema also helps me to do, and connect with).  I can continue on and understand the story without doing this, but I notice that this small moment is helping to make the reader and the character more intimate with each other.  Who’s she when she’s at home? This little bit of visualization helps me know her better.