What Came First, The Chicken Or the Egg?

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Most people when buying a book have different ways of deciding what they wish to read.

Some make a beeline for the section containing their favourite genre. Others casually check the spine of the books on the shelves for an author they recognise and peruse the cover. 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 reader’s 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 an 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 moments 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.

3 Comments
  1. Andrew Sacks says

    Writing is a process, sometimes a long and arduous one–and again we thank you, Jack, for your perceptions and common sense suggestions.

  2. Mysti Parker says

    Since I’ve started writing I understand now how much work goes into the process. Sadly, but expectedly, most readers just want to be entertained or informed. That is our job as a writer–to write in such a way that we are essentially invisible.

    So…chicken…our “eggs” remain hidden in our imagination.

  3. Jack Eason says

    Thank you Andrew and Mysti for your thoughts and kind words. 😀

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