The Magic of Story

The man brought a smile to my face. He wore a gray suit; a red power tie, shiny black shoes and he made his way through the streets of San Francisco’s Financial District this early Thursday morning. I really should not have followed him, but I needed the walk before starting my day… and I needed to know what captivated him.

 

Not quite as cool as this guy, but you get the idea!

Not quite as cool as this guy, but you get the idea!

You see, the man was oblivious to where he was walking, who he passed, or who sat in the plethora of breakfast venues, already deep in crucial meetings. He was in a world of his own.

Well not exactly his own, I discovered. To be exact, he was in a world that Stephen King had created. The man, dressed ready for another day where millions of dollars might pass from one pocket to another, destined by the scribble of his signature or click of his mouse, could not tear himself away from the grip of the novel he read as he walked.

And that, my friends is the magic. That is why we write: not just to tell the story that must be told, but also to transfer our readers to a world we created. Most writers, I believe, know the adrenaline rush of being sucked into their own story.

When I wrote the climatic chapters of Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3, I wrote 10,000 words almost without a break. My long-suffering better half recalls how my lips moved and scattered, broken sentences leaving my mouth. I remember nothing but the urge to pound the keyboard. It could have been smoking as armies clashed, heroes died, and evil was vanquished (or not – read the book J).

I love watching my sons read my novels, but I have never yet seen an adult totally absorbed as the businessman was this morning. I have a fond memory of a mother telling me that she can’t pry her son from Sacrificial Flame and, while cute, he is not doing his homework.

Sac Flame 2

I apologized as sincerely as I could muster. I’ve no doubt she saw through my pathetically concealed smug expression. I once saw a woman reading another of my books, The Accidental Activist, on the train – that was thrilling.

But I want to see a person, walking the streets, trying to wrench him/herself from the clutches of one of my novels, to apologetically insert the bookmark, close the book, and count down the hours until the commute home and the opportunity to return to Seanchai and the land of Odessiya.

I want to be Stephen King, even if just for a morning walk in the Financial District. I want to see one of my novels cast its magic on some unsuspecting reader.

Then I will be a Craft Master like Stephen King.

imgres  images-2

 

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, and five other Wycaan Master books all released by Tourmaline Books. The link above takes you to the Kindle versions. For all other eReaders, please click here.

More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).

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3 comments on “The Magic of Story

  1. june says:

    Another good post..thx for sharing…reposted and sending out to twitter world!

  2. When I was a child, I was the one reading the book and not doing the homework. In fact, when I was in high school, I read an average of two paperback a day and worked a part time job nights and weekends for thirty hours a week. That indicates how much homework I did not do and the fact that I barely graduated from high school with a 0.95 GPA. :o)

    It turned out that reading all those books instead of doing homework is what helped me make it through college on the GI Bill. Children who read a lot on their own for the pleasure of reading tend to read at a higher literacy level than all those children who did the homework and didn’t read many books.

    In fact, I graduated from college with a BA in journalism and was on the Deans Honor Roll with a GPA that was almost 3.9, and I never had to take what’s called bone-head English like many of those HS graduates who did most or all of the homework but didn’t read books for fun.

    Our daughter, who is now 24, graduated from Stanford last June. When she was a student K-12, we wouldn’t let her watch TV and the only entertainment available for her was reading books— after she did her homework.

    She graduated from HS with a GPA of 4.6 and she read the books too—a lot of books to fill all those hours after homework.

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