Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being Invisible

I was skimming Aaron Shephard's "The Business of  Writing for Children" last night and one thing really resonated with me.

Aaron was attending a storytelling festival many years ago and  he says:
All, at once, in the middle of the story, I "woke up" with a shock  For a few seconds, I had completely forgotten I was sitting in a hot tent with a thousand other people. The storyteller had drawn me into the story so completely that I was aware of nothing, but the story's unfolding within my own mind.

That moment told me that the height of storytelling-- oral or written-- is when the teller becomes invisible. 

As writers, I think we often find it hard to turn off our internal editors when we read..  I try to just 'enjoy" a book but often find myself thinking, "Boy, she is using too many adverbs" or "Gee, a little too much of an info dump here." 

I remember noticing that I was NOT doing this during The Hunger Games.   Suzanne Collins was such an amazing storyteller that I never once thought about her sentence structure!

What was the last book you read where the author was invisible?

13 comments:

Rebecca said...

Divergent. And more recently, The Clockwork Three (currently reading).

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I'm reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson, and I definitely feel that way when I'm immersed in the story. :)

Jeff King said...

Brandon Sanderson's The way of Kings

Best book I've read... in a long time.

Anna Staniszewski said...

I read the exact same way. When a book makes me forget my nitpicky inner-editor, I know it's a good one. Of course, now I'm having trouble remembering what books I've read recently...

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I just read The Boy at the End of the World. I did not stop reading until I finished the book. I was totally wrapped up in it. I read it all night and into the next day. It is an amazing mg novel!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I just read Passion by Lauren Kate and that was pretty good.

Stephanie Faris said...

Ahhh, so true. I need to check that book out!

Cynthia said...

Yes, I remember reading The Hunger Games and feeling as if the story came straight from Katniss, not the author. Recently, I read another book named Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson where the story seemed to come straight from the protagonist, not the author.

Kim Wheedleton said...

This isn't a recent book, but recently read: I checked out Patricia MacLachlan's Arthur, for the Very First Time from the library last week. It's a slim volume, and a quiet story, and it pulled me completely into Arthur's little world, leaving me oblivious to my own.

K said...

I just finished rereading Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games series last night, and I can say that the second time around was just the same as the first: I was COMPLETELY absorbed!! I love it when an author is so talented, a story so captivating that I can reread the book over and over again and feel drawn in each time.

Ishta Mercurio said...

For Middle-Grade, Natale Ghent's AGAINST ALL ODDS. I just love her work. And for YA, probably ENDER'S GAME, which isn't a recent book, but which I read recently. Amazing, amazing, amazing. In a league of its own.

Kelly H-Y said...

It's been a while. I'm in the midst of an 11-book series where I'm constantly thinking that certain words are overused, etc., etc.

Carol Riggs said...

Great post! Being invisible is a good thing, as a writer. :o) And yes...I think it was reading HUNGER GAMES for me too, in which I was totally caught up in the story. Nice. Because usually I get bumped out by those adverbs & info dumps, etc.