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Miller
September 9th, 2005, 07:34 PM
Writing well seems the easiest part of creating a book. While actually captivating the reader is another. I mean truly mesmerizing them, grabbing their attention and not letting go. Their dinner burning in the oven, while they seek to turn the next page, or the phone going unanswered because they simply cannot put the book down. Sleepy-eyed mornings, following late nights of reading, till they absolutely could not stay awake any longer.

How many of us feel they have actually mastered that art?

kater
September 9th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Can you master the art? I don't think even Stephen King sits there writing a book thinking 'I've got you, I've got you." :D

Miller
September 9th, 2005, 09:01 PM
Hehe, well that's the thing. I'm wondering how many people kind of think they do.

I myself have read books like that, where you get taken away to a different world, and don't want to come back till you have to.

While I would imagine alot of us like to think we write like that, I really doubt that many do. Though it could depend alot on the writer vs the reader as well. Some taking a natural affinity to a persons writing style.

Edit- As far as King goes, I think what was going through his head when he was writing the Tommyknockers, was "I've lost you, I've lost you." At least for me anyways.

MrBF1V3
September 10th, 2005, 12:55 AM
Actually I start with captivating myself. If I'm bored, I know how a reader will react to the stuff I'm writing.

I've read books where 3 or 400 pages weren't enough, I would have read more. I've also read books where the first 50 pages were difficult if not impossible to pick up (I don't know about the rest). I can't quite quantify what it is. If you find out, let me know.

We all, I think, hope to grab the reader and pull him/her into our world. But I'll settle for the occasional, "I liked your story." (ie, "I actually read the whole thing".)

B5

Abby
September 10th, 2005, 01:36 AM
Hehe, well that's the thing. I'm wondering how many people kind of think they do.
I feel it sometimes.
When it's good, I know it, and I think "this is going to hook a reader and make them cry (or laugh, as the case may be), and they won't be able to put the book down at this point." And I've had those thoughts confirmed when I sent the book to test readers. One of my coworkers printed the entire 112,000 word manuscript out at work and finished reading it that same night. Another reader brought it to school and read it under his desk at class. The feeling I got when those readers told me their reactions . . . that is why I want to keep writing.

Unfortunately, I very rarely feel that sense of wonderful accomplishment. I hope I'll feel it again sometime this year.


As far as King goes, I think what was going through his head when he was writing the Tommyknockers, was "I've lost you, I've lost you." At least for me anyways.
I'm a die-hard King fan. I'll admit the beginning of "The Tommyknockers" was slow, but it's one of my favorites. Maybe that's because I read it at an impressionable age. :) Anyway, most King fans seem to consider it one of his slowest.

Miller
September 10th, 2005, 01:27 PM
But I'll settle for the occasional, "I liked your story." (ie, "I actually read the whole thing".)
B5

Oh, completely me too.

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Abby your very lucky (skillful*) to have felt that way before, having it confirmed by your readers. Imho if someone can grab an audience like that, even with one book, then they can assure themselves of a great readership in the process. I mean if it was the first book, and all trailed away from that feeling afterwards, with each new book being released, then maybe people would slow down reading the work. But they would still remember that one book, the one that had them entranced. That's my opinion anyways.

-And about the Tommyknockers- I was a kid, and didn't give it a fair chance really. I never made it past the slow start. The King is still one of the reigning champions of the literary world imo though.
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The last book that had me entranced was Jack Whyte's 'The Skystone'. Though the more I read that series, the less I enjoyed it, eventually stopping a couple books from the end. Great series none the less, just alot to read, especially at a book a night or so (I burnt myself out perhaps?).

KatG
September 10th, 2005, 01:59 PM
You cannot captivate all readers. They are not the same and will not have the same reaction to your work. Plus, what may be captivating is going to be different in different books. It may be the suspense, the tension, the desire to see what a writer does with certain mysteries, or the emotional conflicts, the characters, the humor, the horrific bump in the night scary stuff, or the lyricism of the writing style or....

An oral storyteller can try to read their audience and adapt and adjust. But even then, the storyteller won't be captivating everyone. A writer is at much more of a disadvantage, as has come up, and while they may be able to develop and fine-tune work with the help of critiques and writing workshops, they have no guarantees because the reaction to the work will be very individual.

What you're talking about is when a writer feels he's hit it, that it's strong and works and does what he wants it to do, that he can't believe it actually came out of his brain, which is a little different from the elusive grail of captivation. And yes, it happens a fair amount, but so does doubt, dissatisfaction and uncertainty. Unfortunately. :)

Miller
September 10th, 2005, 03:42 PM
Well I don't know. I think there are writers out there, published ones I am refering to, that have managed to build a strong readership of readers who are all captivated by their work.

I don't mean everyone being captivated, that's basically close to impossible, but I do mean a fair amount of readers.

An author feeling great worth over his own work, well that would be wonderful to feel all the time, and I hope most people feel that way when they write, I really do. In which case it is reward enough to have written it, not needing the gratification of others to confirm it.

Miller
September 10th, 2005, 03:49 PM
I feel it sometimes.
When it's good, I know it, and I think "this is going to hook a reader and make them cry (or laugh, as the case may be), and they won't be able to put the book down at this point." And I've had those thoughts confirmed when I sent the book to test readers. One of my coworkers printed the entire 112,000 word manuscript out at work and finished reading it that same night. Another reader brought it to school and read it under his desk at class. The feeling I got when those readers told me their reactions . . . that is why I want to keep writing.

Unfortunately, I very rarely feel that sense of wonderful accomplishment. I hope I'll feel it again sometime this year.



This is more what I was refering to.

Abby
September 11th, 2005, 01:28 AM
Abby your very lucky (skillful*) to have felt that way before, having it confirmed by your readers. Imho if someone can grab an audience like that, even with one book, then they can assure themselves of a great readership in the process. I feel lucky about it. I know some writers will go for years--decades--without hearing those sorts of reactions, but I have too much self-doubt to last that long. Then again, I could never quit writing entirely; if I heard only lukewarm comments, I would turn to film-making and other forms of storytelling.

But the thing is, I didn't hook every reader with that book. About half of the 23 people who've read it went on to read the two follow-up novels. I'm aiming for more like 80%. :) The readers who really loved all three novels keep me excited about it (they discuss theories about my characters, which is so cool), but the more critical reactions are just as valuable to me. I'm working on a rewrite. Once it's done, I hope I can sell the series to Tor Books or another major publisher.


I mean if it was the first book, and all trailed away from that feeling afterwards, with each new book being released, then maybe people would slow down reading the work. But they would still remember that one book, the one that had them entranced. So true! Look at Orson Scott Card and Frank Herbert (*ahem* my apologies to their fans).


The last book that had me entranced was Jack Whyte's 'The Skystone'. Though the more I read that series, the less I enjoyed it, eventually stopping a couple books from the end. I'd never heard of Jack Whyte, but his books look interesting . . . I may add them to my reading list. The last book(s) that grabbed me was Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I think it deserves some of the criticism it's attracted, but I was hooked nonetheless. Oh, now I'm enjoying Lois McMaster Bujold's series about Miles. People kept recommending it to me, and I finally listened. The first two books didn't hook me, but the third is getting good.