So far, I’ve dealt with some very cut-and-dried if somewhat difficult-to-apply topics. I mean, everyone who has ever tried to write will have at least a passing recognition of what I was referring to.
But today, I spontaneously (and perhaps unwisely) decided to write about something that I’ve never seen referred to directly. It’s something that I’ve noticed, but that I’m not sure if I’m the only one that did.
Have you ever noticed when you read how you’re drawn into the story?
What keeps you there?
Yes, conflict draws me in because I want to know what will happen to the characters. Sympathy will draw me in for the same reason.
But my mind isn’t going to keep checking up on the character’s well-being, is it?
Yes, I’m dying to know what is going to happen, my heart is beating in my ears, but what is keeping me from simply skipping over to the end to find out? Because all the dialogues and info sort of pales in comparison to the importance of finding out what happened.
I call that thing that keeps us turning the page and reading word for word two names. The one is flow, the other is energy. I’m not really going to go too deep into the distinction today, because they’re so close together in my mind, but let’s just say that energy is what keeps us locked into the story while flow is what sustains us (and the energy) to the end.
People can also call it the mood, I suppose, but it doesn’t feel like an accurate description. Mood is and aspect to it, yes, but not the whole. Mood affects the characters… ‘
Energy affects the reader too. It’s about how it makes us feel when we read it. To an extent, it takes control of our thoughts so that we don’t want to think about anything other than what is going on right now in the book. That’s why it doesn’t occur to the reader to skip ahead.
That only happens if something messes with the flow and by extension the energy. In fact, I think people only skip ahead when the energy is completely severed.
If the flow is affected in any other way, that’s when the reader experiences that hey wait a minute! moment.
So energy is also responsible for the prolonged suspension of disbelief.
I’ve always wondered what made that possible, but now that I wrote it, it makes sense to me. Am I the only one?
Energy must always be there in the story. Well, not in the story. In the background. If the story was my thoughts, energy would be the white noise I need for my thoughts to run. It the story was music, energy would be the base.
What do you think of my theory?