Thursday, May 03, 2007

Oh, Those Brilliant Storytellers!

I'm giving up on Nora Roberts, Gayle Wilson, JoAnn Ross, and countless others. I'm not even going to try anymore.

Every time I start reading one of their books, I'm determined to analyze the story from start to finish. I begin with optimism, notepad and highlighters in hand. What's the theme? What's the inner conflict? Outer conflict? Who's motivated to do what and why? What's the Big Black Moment? The story arc?

It's usually when I finish the first third of the book that I realize I haven't made a single mark. Nothing.

It's because I get so caught up in the story.

I am completely captivated. If you stopped me and asked me to name the characters, I could tell you that and everything that happens in the story. If I thought about it hard enough, I could probably tell you some conflict points and a little bit about the motivation. But if you asked me to show you specific passages that support my answers, I'd be lost. These authors have the incredible talent of weaving seamless tales that leave me with only sigh-happy feelings of satisfaction.

I picked up a book a few days ago by an author I had never read before -- Jayne Ann Krentz. As I first began to read, I got excited and thought, "Maybe this one!"

I finished it last night.

Never even upcapped the highlighter.

How do you learn from brilliant storytellers? What's your process?

1 comment:

Christy said...

I'm the very same way. I sit down to analyze a book and before I know it, I'm halfway through and still haven't highlighted a thing. I think that's the mark of a good story teller, I just wish I could focus on the process a little more when I'm reading.

I think I learn subliminally because I've yet to be able to tear a book apart to anaylze it.

Congratulations on your contest finals, JoAnn! That's fantastic!