Fun · Literature

Reading Appreciation

This is something I’ve noticed as I read not only books on writing: that when I read plot-driven fiction, or any kind of fiction for that matter, I start to deconstruct the structure of the novel as I read. The same could also be said in any number of films. When something happens, I recognize what part it has to play towards the whole, and anymore, if a character’s likely to die, either I can get a good sense of it before it happens, or I’m not entirely surprised when it happens–at least for about a minute after the painful shock of it has worn off, and I say painful because it’s usually a good character who didn’t deserve to die in the world of fiction, and then after that I say to myself, “I’m not surprised” or “I saw that coming” or “It had to happen because otherwise the hero wouldn’t etc.”

Does this ruin the pleasure I take in reading books? Absolutely not!

If anything, it heightens my enjoyment, because I know what tasty treats (or lack thereof) are to be found, but I’m waiting to see how this particular auther will choose to reveal them to me through the story. I remember a friend of a friend of mine once said that because he’s a film student, what he’s studying ruins his ability to enjoy movies, because now he understands all the technical components of plot, direction, special effects, editing, etc. For me as an English lit student and a reader of writing books and studying the craft, I’m not seeing it happening (although maybe that’s because I’m not being made to write a paper on it eventually). While everything I read I could use as a field guide (especially if it’s in my preferred writing genre), I still enjoy it all immensely, for the story, the language, the characters.

So…just don’t think that just because you’re learning how books are written so that you can write them yourself, you can’t still enjoy books for just because. I thought I’d mention it just in case you did.


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