The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Book Related Banter > Imagination vs. Author

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message 1: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne (a-town) | 308 comments I was just reading a post-apocalyptic story where all of a sudden bright blue skies and sunshine were mentioned and it freaked me out a bit and drew me out of the story, because the overall tone of the story and everything that had been written so far had me imagining grey or dark skies full of pollution or at least a sort of dreary setting.

I know authors sometimes do this to draw attention to something, but I don't think this story was that sophisticated as the description never came into play later and it really didn't have much to do with the scene at hand. I honestly can't remember the name of the story I read, but I was just really surprised.

I guess my sort of question is have you ever read something that sort of threw you for a loop? Like, where you imagined something being one way, because the author hasn't explicitly stated anything, yet when it's finally focused on, it's completely different from whatever you previously imagined?

And maybe, if you feel like it, if this happened do you think it was intentional/had purpose or maybe just the author's whim? did it draw you out of the story or help you understand it differently?


message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Valiquette (purplemoonpublishing) The times where I feel like I'm really being thrown a curve ball is when you know the author is meticulous about their research and something doesn't jive...like in Stephen King's 11-22-63. He described the blue lights on a police car. Back then, police cars had red lights until late 60s.


message 3: by John (new)

John (johnred) This would really annoy me if the author did it deliberately. It seems like it would come off as a cheap trick.

For example, there is a certain novel* where, at the end of the story, two characters meet for the first time and discover that they are identical twins. It's played off as a plot twist, but all I could think was "Oh great, so the way I've been picturing one of these characters is completely wrong".

* I won't mention the title to avoid spoiling :)


message 4: by Judith (new)

Judith Kirscht | 14 comments I don't see imagination as being opposite of author, as the title suggests, since as an author, I know the whole world I create is from the imagination. However, it's the job of any good critique group to catch things that throw readers out of the story--like your underwater smells--and to specify physical appearance, weather, etc. if it's relevant. Those initial readers should also question whether details are relevant. In other words, the imagination is boss in the first draft, then the work needs to be honed by research, craft, and first readers.


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) Yes! This has happened to me and sometimes it's not always for the good. I've read many stories where the author seems like their setting up for an excellent ending and I know exactly whats going to happen and then I'm totally thrown because what they invisioned was not what I thought would happen.


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