Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't Rush Reading

I like to be a little dramatic when I am talking.  I'm not melodramatic or overacting, but I do slow my words and add pauses when I am building suspense.  I do change my pitch and timbre of voice for effects.  I make use of every tool I have in order to make the effect I want.

Sometimes, though, the audience doesn't want any of that.  Sometimes all they care about are the facts.  They just want the words, the information.  They don't have the time to wait through your pauses; they just want to know what it was you found.

Unfortunately, there's not a damn thing you can do about this.  Whether you are telling a story, writing a book, or making a movie, some people will want to skip through.  I would be angry about it, but I know that I'm no better. When people start to build suspense, it drives me up the wall.  I don't want an author to entice me, then go on about something completely unrelated.  If your story is good, you don't need to set up an exciting scene and then leave it unresolved until later; I plan on reading your whole book, so just get to the good parts.

My advice to audiences is to chill out.  Trust that storytellers are being precise.  Try to get into their story.  It was made with a feel and set-up that makes for an excellent and powerful conclusion.  If you are impatient and skipping around to the "good parts", you may just skip over the best parts out there.

My advice to storytellers is to tell a damn good story.  Give your audience a reason to trust you and to bother getting into your stories.

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