Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading for the Writing

It happened again today. A friend mentioned the title of a novel I'd read recently.

"Did you enjoy it?" he asked.
"Very much," I replied. And I had.
"What's it about?" he asked.

And that's when it happened. Even though I had read the book less than two months ago, I wasn't able to provide much more information other than the uninteresting and unhelpful fact that I'd enjoyed it. Plot? I might have been able to scare up a sentence or two. Names of the main characters? Gone. 

Certainly every novel needs a plot, with interesting characters developed in memorable ways. When it all works together well, it's like a wonderful symphonic piece. But what I remember most about reading a good novel is the experience of it: the author's word choice, the variety a rhythm of the sentences, the emotional impact evoked from what is written and, importantly, left unwritten.

Do you suffer from forgot-the-plot syndrome?