Amy Zuckerman and Jim Daly, illustrated by:
Readers can be hurt by what a character says, so hurt that they cry genuine tears. And they have very real physical and emotional reactions to events that take place in that world.
Readers invest in characters. They invest in an ongoing adventure. They invest in you. But lucid dreaming aside, they never do.
They have to end sometime. Books also have to end.
Not by a ringing phone, a screaming child, a demanding spouse, or the need to go to bed or to work or to school. We want to enjoy our adventures with the characters. We can ignore a ringing phone or doorbell, pick up a good book after dinner and get caught back up in the adventure, even ignore the ticking clock that constantly reminds us that we have to get up in a few hours.
But an interruption that comes from the story or is created by the writer?
Those interruptions can sour a great story and send readers running. Interruptions from our world can be ignored. Interruptions from inside the story world become a part of that world and influence our reactions to it. We expect interruptions from the real world, and we adapt to them.
His attention is split between the imaginary and the real. He no longer has a single focus. At least unaware for the time it took to read the book. A rude awakening is a downer for readers. Anything that messes with your carefully crafted world can be intrusive.
A strong enough interruption can turn off the reader, not only waking him but making him not want to return to the fictional events.
And more intrusive problems or multiple problems are likely to bother many readers. And some are not quite as easily noticed by the writer or editor looking for them. How about a list of fiction disruptors to give you anomalies to look for?Reading and Writing with Writers in Mind.
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