Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah on Structure

Sarah's written a post for Romancing the Blog which puts her recent post about the structure of Suzanne Brockmann's Breaking Point into a wider context:
it’s worth digging under the surface. When reading a book, it’s hopefully easy to fall into a story (that’s the point, right?) and not think about how much thought goes into how it’s constructed. Reading accounts of RWA and listening to authors, however, tells us how much authors think about their books, how many times they revise, how they agonize over the phrasing of one sentence to get just the right meaning. And while it’s important that we just fall into a book, we can also discover a lot ABOUT the book and its themes and message, if we focus on the deeper meanings of how its actually put together.

The illustration is a model of the structure of a glucose chain. It's from Wikimedia Commons. More details about glucose and the different structures it can take can be found here.


  1. I found Sarah's blog on this topic interesting. I have always been convinced that understanding how something works (whether it is a work of Art or of Nature) invariably deepens and enriches one's appreciation and enjoyment. This is not to say one can't enjoy something without analysing how it is put together: in the case of scientific knowledge, many of us just can't grasp it all anyway.

    I think in the case of fiction, most of us will tend to analyse more when we do not find the work successful, at least on first reading.

    I am interested in what, precisely, is meant by the phrase 'falling into' the book/story. I understand that some readers imagine themselves in the book, taking part in some way, perhaps in the persona of one of the characters. Is that what is meant? Or simply the kind of engagement that keeps one wanting to know how it all turns out?

  2. By "fall into the story," I just meant be absorbed by the narrative, not want to put it down, not want to stop reading. Not identifying as one of the characters.

  3. Ah, thanks, Sarah. That was what I thought, and then I suddenly wondered about the issue of personal identification.