the curse of readers and writers

The curse of a voracious reader is having an amazing imagination. Having an amazing imagination that you feed by reading more and more books and picturing each world vividly. From the power vibrating in the Elder Wand to the smoke curling from Smaug’s nostrils, you, the reader, can picture each world and be sucked in – the only problem is that you can’t physically go there and talk to Liz Bennet or Peter Pevensie or Percy Jackson, no matter how hard you wish.

The curse of a writer, who is usually a voracious reader as well, is that they can clearly envision the world they created in their mind. It’s your own world, with its own quirks and it’s utterly precious to you (flaws and all). The problem comes when you picture the world so clearly that you can’t articulate it. It’s so clear – but how to get the readers to see the world as you see it? To capture the wonder, the vividness? To make them love it as much as you do? You get caught up in mentioning little details – how the chair’s leg is slightly crooked or the curtain moves at a certain rate when the wind blows or how in the summer the cabin smells like cherry blossoms – and can’t move past them easily because you have to make the reader understand how wonderful this world is to you. The world is your baby. You must show it off to everyone.

This is a problem I’ve had recently. I can picture the library – called the Library, actually – in my WIP river tales so clearly that it’s frustrating to no end that I can’t capture it. The Library… oh, how I wish I could be in that library! How do I convey the wonder to myreaders that I feel when I picture it in my head? It’s the perfect get away, it owns every book in the world, it’s quiet, it smells of books and wonder and it’s so so amazing that I dream of spending one minute there! This is my dream library that’s manifested itself into my novel. It’s even more amazing than the Beast’s library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, if you can believe it. But how do I convey the Library perfectly to the reader? I get so caught up in all the quirks the Library has, but aren’t necessary for the story to continue moving, that I end up with convoluted descriptions that appear randomly in conversation because I just have to add that the air smells like pages blooming and that there’s a perfect silence that most library’s here don’t have, despite librarians shushing people.

But… I wouldn’t give up the magical library in my head for the world, despite it being frustrating to write about. It’s my own little library. Sure, it’s in my head. Yes, I can only live vicariously through my character visiting it. But it’s mine. And it’s so beautiful I wish I could let every reader inside my head for a day to explore it with me. mrgreen

Did that sound weird? Inviting you into my head? eek Well, I mean it in the best way possible…

Songs of the day: Catgroove by Parov Stelar
Current state of mind: refusing to be stressed (in a word: midterms)
Book I’m reading, though not this literal second obviously: Alice In Wonderland 
Click on me for photo credits to the flying books. Now click on me for the B&B picture.

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12 thoughts on “the curse of readers and writers

  1. Wow. You had me when you said Your Library is even more amazing than the Beast’s library from Beauty and The Beast. Please write this library, I must visit it, even if just in my head!!! :)

    • Well, I’d invite you into my head but I’m not sure how to go about it. *grins* Thanks for the comment!

  2. I have a library in my head too! Its closer to the slightly messy library in Jonesey’s head in Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher movie but its my private library all the same, glad to know I’m not the only one!

    • This is awesome! I’m glad I’m not the only one with a library in my head too! (Wow, that sounded slightly weird, haha.)

  3. I know what you mean! I have a tower for one of my “In Progress” writings that is similar to Stephen King’s Dark Tower. It also has elements of the towers from the Assassin’s Creed games but with variations that make it quite different. Trying to capture that, ends up detracting from the story and I can’t necessarily have my characters spouting off random inconsequential descriptions of the tower now can I hehe. Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing how you pull off describing this magnificent sounding library!

    • Silvanthato, you are seriously awesome. :) (And, again, your verse on my “me” page came at the exact right time.) Do you have a blog on wordpress? I couldn’t seem to find one.

      I completely understand your pain! My character kept describing the bright, warm sunlight that added a warm glow to the library, and how quiet and peaceful it was, and how it had pretty much ever book… And then I realized, “She’s never going to even meet the librarian unless she starts moving instead of staring around and describing things to readers.” What’s really irritating is I keep being distracted by the mental image I have in my head of the library, so the conversation with the librarian feels stilted. I also have to be careful because the librarian might start spouting off random descriptions too with my mental excuse of, “Oh, well, he loves the library so he HAS to describe it a lot in loving terms!” :D

      • Hahaha! That’s a good one, using the librarian. I just thought about it now and my idea is: when the character enters the library, you can describe various elements of the library first, key details that would make the reader aware that this is not your normal city library. Your character can then add details to it in the form of taking in various elements that stand out for them. Lastly, add a little more in the conversation either through the librarian taking some time to express their love of the library as way of introduction. Of course in order to make your story progress you don’t want to make the first three pages only about the library hehe, so add story progressing thoughts from your character and direct your conversation with the librarian towards moving forward…if you know what I mean.

        Also, my blog is: ascribetodescribe.wordpress.com

      • Oooooo, that sounds doable! Thanks! :D

  4. This sounds so wonderful I can’t help but to want to be there already. I’ve never seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, my son was into Robin Hood, and I could say each persons lines in that movie to heart even today 20 years later. Truth be known, I loved that show also. it was just everything that is good and right about the world where the hero wins and the bad guys don’t.

    I am so excited to read about your library, If I were you I’d give myself pages and pages of addendum and point the reader to *you must read the description* of the library before reading in the section any farther. The you get to describe the whole library just the way it is, how the wind blows the curtain back making the pages in the magazine rustle which ques the magic to begin, unbeknownst to the magic library that no one is really there, which makes them so sad, because they want to be read and discovered and take their readers to these magical places that only they can take them to, so instead of going back to their books they decide to explore and tell the reader all about the magic library. Just a thought, and I can’t wait to read it!! :)

    • From what I remember of Beauty and the Beast, I liked it and would recommend it today. (Although I wasn’t overly fond of what the Beast looked like after he transformed, but I digress.) Admittedly, the only thing I really remember from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the library… A friend and I actually still mention it from time to time as the library to end all libraries. ^_^

      That’s a great idea! What I may just have to do is write out all the descriptions of the library I can for as long as I can until I’m drained and can describe it no more. Then I can just add the parts that are “needed” for the story, so readers won’t be bored to tears with my waxing about the perfectly lovely silence in the library and how the sunlight gives this peaceful ambiance… Thankfully this is draft 1, so it’s allowed to be a little messy and ramble-y.

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