Friday, August 29, 2014

What pulls you in?

What draws you into a book? 

For some people it's voice. For others, it's a high-action scene with lots of danger, and a lightning-speed pace; or lyrical prose with vivid settings. Great fight scenes get some readers into the stories, and for others, it's dialogue.

I'm a voice kinda girl. The characters don't have to be speaking or running; but I have to be able to hear the protagonist's voice right away. Snark is a plus, with a character's witty commentary (in dialogue or in her [or his] head) pulling me in.

My favorite POV styles to read are the "deep" third-person POV or first-person POV. I want to hear what's going on in a character's thoughts. I want to be limited by her perspective, and make the same errors she does, and only discover in retrospect where she went wrong and how she was mistaken.

I want to be right there with her, as she's discovering magic, and trying to connect it back to what she already knows; or crying with her with frustration as she finds the magic she's used since childhood isn't useful enough. I want to grow with her, learn with her, lose with her. 
If the protagonist is an iguana, I want to feel the
hot sun on my back, and think about how awesome
those crunchy crickets taste.

There are books that are written in omniscience that I really enjoy (Terry Pratchett, for example, always makes me laugh with the asides). The advantages of knowing what's really going on with the world, and of knowing more than the characters, can give levity. But on the whole, I want limits.

Some people put multiple perspectives in stories. I'm okay with this, but I want limits there, too: I prefer not knowing what the bad guy is doing. I don't want to be in the redshirt's head. In fact, the only minds I want to get into are the heroes'. As exciting as it is to see the murder happening to get the book started, or to find out what traps the villain is laying, I'd rather have a more distant POV for those scenes. Or just skip them altogether. 

That's not to say I don't enjoy books with deep POV for the villain. Many I do. But in general, I like the thrill of discovery, of finding out what's going on as the heroes do.

In the end, it's a strong voice that immerses me in a book the quickest.

What's your favorite point of view? And what draws you into a story the fastest?

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