Sunday, July 17, 2011

Down & Dirty Fiction

Okay, so the title to this post might be misleading. What I meant was for “getting into a story”. People say, “Oh, yeah, I got into Lost.” Or, “I just couldn’t get into Harry Potter.” The topic of this post, then, is what does it mean to get into something, and on a greater note, why we use that phrase. Let’s begin like we normally would: with some ridiculous statements that we can hardly back up.

Chuck Wendig of terribleminds has coined the term, penmonkey, and wisely so. In his book of predominately edited blog-posts, Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey, Chuck talks about how the content of a story is not bound to the margins of the page (or sides of your compy or tablet). He calls it the magic of the cell-phone, with communication from all places of the story coming in and going out, and especially interfering with one another. Of course, that’s the way it should be. And that, JK’s huge base of readers, is where our idea of “getting into a story” takes place.

Getting into something probably means finding yourself in the story. Perhaps you are reading Gulliver’s Travels (the revised for modern comprehension edition), and within a couple of pages you find yourself gasping at the *SPOILER* tiny men tying up our beloved Gulliver. You got into the story. You found yourself at the scene, and what’s really important here is that you cared about the story, and hopefully, the character.

Writers and readers want that. If within a chapter the reader hasn’t gotten into the story, then they probably won’t (and hopefully they didn’t waste their money and time!). They can try, and they might, especially if there are vast changes in the story or a different POV. But, they would probably just be forcing their eyes along the pages until they go Fahrenheit 451 on that POS. Writers, too, but many won’t realize if they’re writing crappily until they’ve received 50 rejection letters from (hopefully) prominent publishing houses. (You can self-publish, of course!) They might not notice what they’re writing. Or, they might. Hopefully they do. And, if that’s the case, it’s the same situation: if they can’t get into their story writing-wise, or if they find content wise they don’t like it, then SOL and try again.

So, now we have an idea of what getting into something means. The why is as easy as the what. It’s a great why because the meaning of words actually give some semblance of a “world” in which you can “see yourself living in” with the actual characters.

Therefore, the first step for any reader or writer is to find those special things that they can relate to in a story, and get in knee-deep. Down and dirty fiction.

-JK out.

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