Old Moon

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reading for Fun

Most of the time I read for entertainment. That's been the case ever since I got out of college. It took about ten years for me to realize that a) I didn't have to finish something I hated, and b) that I dared to read without an analytical eye.

However, often I see something that attracts my attention. I just finished a novel chapter which is really a fairly long scene that combines melodrama, satire, burlesque, and sadness (John Irving) that stopped my suspension of disbelief for a moment. Here's a teenager, a four-year-old, and a mature woman in a confrontation full of emotional undercurrents and epiphanies-in-the-making.

As is expected by anyone who has ever been to a workshop, the physical description of the place where the action takes place is supplied right away. Here, though, just before the close of the chapter, Irving inserts the information that you thought you'd had at the beginning of the chapter:  the minute details of the setting with all their implications.

I guess if one tries to write for entertainment, whether fiction or not, one becomes accustomed to accepted methods. This inversion provided a new technique for giving emphasis that slyly inserted a whole truckload of specific, important exposition.

Is there a message here in whether or not it's okay to read just for fun?


Glenda Beal said...

We recently discussed place as a major character in stories. This book you mention sounds interesting. Title, please?

ConnieReadBurris said...

I love to read the chapter you reference. What John Irving book are you reading?

www.roughwighting.net said...

John Irving is a master storyteller, and we writers can learn from him, for sure.
I'm with you - I read for pleasure, and I write for pleasure, and hope my stories GIVE pleasure! :+)