Posts tagged books.

On Having Figured Out the Twist

fishingboatproceeds:

“Why, for example, do the great writers use anticipation instead of surprise? Because surprise is merely an instrument of the unusual, whereas anticipation of a consequence enlarges our understanding of what is happening. Look at a point of land over which the sun is certain to rise, Coleridge said. If the moon rises there, so what? The senses are startled, that’s all. But if we know the point where the sun will rise as it has always risen and as it will rise tomorrow and the next day too, well, well! At the beginning of “Hamlet” there can be no doubt that by the play’s end, the prince will buy it. Between start and finish, then, we may concentrate on what he says and who he is, matters made more intense by our knowing he is doomed. In every piece of work, at one juncture or another, a writer has the choice of doing something weird or something true. The lesser writer will haul up the moon.” -Roger Rosenblatt, How to Write Great

There seems to be a feeling among readers these days that if they see an event coming, the book is less than it might’ve been. I couldn’t disagree more.

I stand with Rosenblatt in celebrating anticipation over surprise. Even when reading mystery novels, the pleasure for me is never in the feeling of, oh I didn’t see THAT coming. The pleasure is living with another’s dread and pain and yearning and hope. All of that is a hell of a lot more fulfilling than being surprised by the killer’s identity.

This is the whole reason foreshadowing exists. Foreshadowing, at its best, is not a trick demonstrated to brag about what a fancy writer you can be. It’s about building anticipation, so that the reader can more fully empathize with the characters in the story: I want s/he to battle and hope against the inevitable while reading just as we all do while living. When it works, anticipation is far more fulfilling than surprise, because we are reminded that a sunrise is precisely as magnificent as it is inevitable.

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breadpeople:

Sevengrain Snape (Submitted by Damon)

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#books  #art  #cool  

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#books  

You should date a girl who reads. ›

#prose  #personal  #books  

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