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That's what stories are, right? Shared hallucinations?

If you do them right, anyway, you suck the reader in so for a while, the protagonists problems loom larger in the reader's mind than their own, and the beautiful forest or dreary dungeon or wherever that the story is set is more real than the kitchen or bedroom or "throne room" that the reader is actually sitting in.

All the techniques of writing--point of view, plot, characterization, even grammar--all of that is just the foundation--the scales and vocal warmups, the finger exercises, if you will.

What matters to the reader is being sucked into the hallucination. They only care about the grammar or point of view if it jars them out of the illusion of being there.

So here's to creating the best possible hallucinations out of imagination and pixels!

H is also for Haiku, and it is poetry month, after all:

The blank screen awaits
I could write anything here
But first, I must start


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)

I never thought of it that way before! That's a really neat way of looking at it.
Apr. 13th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Thank you. I hope it's a thought-provoking (or inspiration-inviting) way to look at it.
Apr. 12th, 2012 09:40 am (UTC)
I would disagree with you about the hallucination part. Perhaps it works that way for people who are more strongly visual than I am but for me stories activate the "wordy" part of my brain that thinks in plotlines. I don't "see" a mess of smashed eggs on the floor or "hear" the crash, rather I "think" "Marcy came in while I was making brownies and she startled me and I dropped the eggs."

So I experience stories as a shared narrative, rather than a shared non-true perception.
Apr. 12th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
I wasn't really talking about how you experience the story--some people are very visual, others become immersed in imagined sounds or feelings, others, like you, become immersed in the words that (for others) are merely the medium that conveys the imagery.

But at the core, what I'm saying is that the experience, while it's being lived, distracts a person effectively and thoroughly from the real world they are actually inhabiting. Is that something you get to enjoy? In other words, do you become immersed in the shared narrative?
Apr. 13th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Oh yes.

I'm particularly likely to fall into a book and get lost for hours if my "real" life is being very stressful. Coming back to myself crosslegged on the floor of Safeway with my butt going numb is one of those signs I need to take better care of myself.
Apr. 13th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
One of the really fascinating things about people is that the we can all share the same narratives, whether we get lost in the visual images or the sounds or the words/concepts or the feelings.

Apr. 12th, 2012 01:40 pm (UTC)
Of course, then there's also the non-shared "hallucinations" that can be inspired by words to keep life fun. I was looking at something else as this page plotted, and some words popped out without being quite in focus, and I thought I saw the phrase "scales of the local wumpus".
Apr. 13th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
Those are fun too!
Apr. 12th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)

And I love your haiku. It's going on my writerly wall of wisdom.
Apr. 13th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
Thank you!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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