I recently read that good stories not only capture experience with language, they also create it. Hearing that gave me a boost not unlike the one I get when reading a story that seems fully alive, that captures fragile moments in the life of a made-up character and propels me into his future. In especially good writing, the undercurrents of a character’s history are hidden in words that show without telling. Well-written fiction can bring this history to life in the lines on the page and, better yet, between them, enriching the story’s movement through its present time. For reader and writer it can feel almost like magic.
When a writer has those creative moments, it can be joyous for him no matter how dark may be the character’s past. When he has those joyous moments, there is at least a reasonable chance his readers will have them, too. The experience they are both hoping to have becomes the bond between them.
That is why I value hearing from readers and writers alike about the “ahh ha” moments that spring from the pages of a story they love. When we talk about this together, we grow the importance of story in our culture.
What was the last book you read that struck you with particular power?