Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One of Those Little Quirks…

I know that I said I was shooting for weekly posts, and I’ve already failed. I’m sorry, but I will certainly try and do better in the future.

I recently read Inkheart for the first time, and it thoroughly entertained me. I saw the movie a couple of years ago, and while there are many who dislike it, I personally enjoyed the film. Now, having read the book, I can see why some fans were upset. But, in my personal opinion, the movie was still a fairly good cinematic rendering.

Nonetheless, I’m not here to go on about the differences between the movie and book versions of Inkheart. My purpose isn’t even really to remark on the story itself. I will say that it’s an excellent book, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series. However, I want to pull something from the book. Fenoglio, the author of the fictional Inkheart, which is a part of the story, continually remarks upon how pleased he is with his villain, Capricorn, and Capricorn’s various henchmen, brought to life by Silvertongue’s unique talent. The other characters in the story, and I’m guessing most readers, are vaguely disgusted by the odd pleasure that Fenoglio takes in those characters who are, well, less than appealing.

As a writer myself, though, I can understand Fenoglio’s reaction. Would I have reacted the same way he did? I don’t know. Still, I can empathize with his strange enjoyment.Writers are an odd breed in some ways. While we enjoy reading too – in fact, it is nearly impossible to be a good writer without being a heavy reader – we tend to read our own works with a very different view than our readers do. Those scenes that our readers can’t stand are often our favorites, and those characters that our readers wish didn’t exist make us delirious with excitement. For example, in one of my books, I wrote a few particularly sad scenes. Many of my friends who read the book were upset with me after reading those parts. And yet, they are some of my favorite scenes in the entire book.

Why is this, you ask? What possible reason could I have for enjoying my characters’ pain or discomfort? Let me clarify and say that I don’t enjoy their suffering. The reason that I enjoy the two scenes I’m thinking of in particular are because of one word – emotion. They are two of the most emotion-eliciting scenes in the story. And since the point of any book is to create emotion, I consider my job done when I’ve wrung the correct emotional response from my readers.

So, for those of you who do write, I encourage you not to worry when you find yourself pleased with the page that makes you cry. If it’s a sad page and you react that way, then you are most likely writing a good story. As long as you don’t take a morbid pleasure in death and destruction, then I would say that your reaction is pretty normal. And for those of you who don’t write and don’t understand writers at all, I hope I’ve enlightened you a bit. See, we’re not weirdly pleased with those parts of our stories that make you cringe because we like them; we’re happy because they are some of our best writing. Those villains that genuinely scare our readers, those death scenes that cause tears to stream down their cheeks, those goodbyes that rend their hearts in two – those are our finest moments, because they bring out emotion in our readers. They show that the reader is connected to the story. And therefore they will always bring us the greatest pride.

I realize that I started this post off talking about Inkheart, and I’d just like to take a moment and recommend it to those of you who haven’t read it. Inkheart is a very gripping, well-written tale that had me captivated, and if you haven’t read it, I definitely encourage you to do so. Anyway, now you not only know one of those odd little quirks that writers have, but hopefully you understand why we have it too.


  1. Great post, Bluebelle! I've never read Inkheart (though I've always wanted to), but I agree with what you pulled from it. If I saw my villains brown to life, I might be secretly pleased as well... though perhaps a little worried. I know them more intimately than they know themselves... and I know what their capable of. Still, my villains are often my favorite characters, and my intensely emotional scenes, and most horrible tragedies, are often my favorite stories.

    You're very right, authors are a bit of a strange breed.

    1. Thanks so much, Rayne! I'm glad you enjoyed and identified with the post! :)


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