The Chicken Or The Egg?
Most people when buying a book have different ways of deciding what they wish to read.
Some simply scan the blurb on the back. Some, annoyingly, even read the last page to see how it turned out, defeating the whole purpose of buying it in the first place.
Whichever method they may choose, once they have selected what they want they open it at page one and read the first few paragraphs. If it grabs their attention – hooks them – they purchase it and take it home.
Sadly today very few bother with new exciting authors, preferring to stick with who they know.
However, precious few readers seldom give a moment’s thought to how the author went about constructing the book they have just purchased, or the thought processes involved.
Some readers create informal groups of friends to talk about a book. They all read the same novel and discuss it in great detail. Occasionally they may even invite the author to grill him or her on their latest work.
The mechanics of a story largely depend on how each author approaches his or her latest work. Each one of us has different ways of doing things. But the end result is always the same.
Simply put a story must have a beginning, middle, and end. The characters must be not only believable but also engaging, whether they are good, bad, or downright ugly. Some books are heavily plot-driven, others, rely on strong characters. Without any of these points, a story will simply not get beyond a few rough notes.
Some authors start off with a scenario, complicated or simple, sparked by a news item, while others begin with a specific character in mind. Some may even use a phrase heard or read somewhere which sticks in their mind as a starting point.
So, the next time you pick up a book to read, or to simply fill in time, don’t discard it without a moment’s thought. Take the time to think about how the author constructed the story and brought life to its characters, and whether or not it gave you enjoyment to spend a few hours within the author’s mind. Because, like it or not, that is where you have been, make no mistake.