Friday, January 20, 2012
Lost in a Good Book
The problem with me is that I immerse myself in a book a like. When I don't really care for a book I skim to get the story. When I like it, I'm in it, not conscious of words on the page, experiencing what the characters feel. And currently it's freezing cold and the Black Death has just arrived. I suppose one of my assets/problems is that I have too much imagination. When I go to a good movie I am not watching it happen--I am there. Same with a good book--I've been frozen in Russia with Dr. Zhivago, I've flown over Africa with Beryl Markham and I knew the Southwest perfectly before I ever visited it because of Tony Hillerman.
It's not only the sense of place in books, it's relationships too. Sometimes I find myself snapping my head off at husband John only to realize that the man I'm angry with is actually in the book I'm writing or reading. I suppose this is a great boon to have--I don't actually have to pay for airfare or really have to visit Antarctica. But it can be emotionally draining. For this reason I tend to stay away from books about children dying or natural disasters wiping out whole communities because I identify too much.
This may be one of the reasons my books work well and readers tell me they identify with my heroines. It's because I identify with my heroines. I don't use them like puppets and put them into scenes in the book. I follow them, being sngry when they are angry, scared when they are scared, stumbling into mistakes with them, and falling in love with them. It's a scary way to work because I don't exactly know where we are going, but it works for me.
So how about you? Do you get lost in a god book?