I Couldn’t Keep it Up

I read Brunonia Barry’s The Map of True Places this past weekend. Oh my. What a delight. Barry is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Lace Reader, which I now must read. As I was reading, I tried to notice exactly what the author was doing, how she had written, what elements were in place, that were making the book so engaging. But I couldn’t sustain the noticing. I kept getting dragged back into the story, swept away by the images, gripped by the seamless dialogue. So I’d stop actively noticing what was working and by the time I remembered to start noticing again I’d find I’d read another 20 or 30 pages.

So that’s it, really. I think that’s ultimately the key to writing a great novel. Write it so your readers forget they’re reading. So that they forget the dialogue you’ve written is written dialogue. So that they forget your well-worded descriptions of images are words strung together to evoke an image. Can you do that? Can I? Brunonia Barry can.

What book has dragged you in, swept you away or gripped you so effectively that you forgot you were reading?

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One response to “I Couldn’t Keep it Up

  1. I loved your reference to seamless as a writing technique. Men don’t sew at all…would they ever use the word seamless in their speech?? I agree with you saying that the story just slides right out of the pages before you take notice. I have an assignment to develop a character and I am just mulling over the possibilities. It’s easier if you take a person you know and then embroider it a little/ great blog cuz