So, despite my very negative reaction to Game of Thrones, I decided to give George R. R. Martin another shot. I’m making my way through his vampire novel, Fevre Dream – I figured his brand of brutality would make for some chillingly evil vampires (which modern literature needs more of, IMHO).
Alas, his vampires seem to be following the Anne Rice model of suave, seductive, and alluring. One of them has ripped a few throats out, but it’s all been very tame reading overall. I’m hoping things will spice up a bit as I get farther in, but I’m already at 140 pages…
So, we’ve started a new GURPS campaign over in my corner of the world (GURPS, for the uninitiated, stands for Generic Role-Playing System and is like D&D, but nerdier) and, this time, I’m the session leader (often call the GM – Game Master).
That means I have to come up with the story that we play through and I have to lead the players into making decisions that further the plot-line – there’s a lot of thinking on your feet that I have to do to alter scenarios based on what the players are doing but still stay true to the overall tale.
All this got me thinking about storytelling vs. writing a novel. There is a certain element that verbal storytelling has that the written word loses, no matter how eloquent the author is. I think it has to do with the storyteller’s facial expressions and tone as he tells his story, his body language and mood. All of those non-verbal cues add a new layer to the story that the written word just cannot replicate.
That’s not to say that verbal storytelling is better – I like both equally – but it is very different. I think that the oral tradition is focused on hearing, while the written word is more focused on creating visuals – painting word pictures, if you will. Because the author is not sitting in front of you, acting out his story as he tells it (i.e. making his eyes huge to indicate surprise or wonder, hunching his shoulders inwards to invoke fear as he describes a monster, etc.), he has to rely on painting a vivid enough picture that you feel those emotions yourself. A person verbally telling a story can choose just a few choice details and indicate emotions and other facets just by gestures and expressions.
Anyways, that’s where my mind wandered to tonight. I happen to enjoy both methods of conveying a story, but do you guys have any preference?
I swear I had thought of something to write about today. It was all catchy and clever and involved more than just a picture of a few lines of text.
And I’ve forgotten!
It wasn’t a book review (though those need to start up again soon for reals). It wasn’t a rant… it was some sort of musing on something bookish. It was gonna be awesome.
For now, here’s a picture of a cat reading a book.
Booking Through Thursday prompts:
“I want you to think about your ideal reading experience. Think about the location. (Your bed? Favorite chair? The beach? Indoors or outdoors?). Think about the sounds. (Is there music playing? Happy children playing in the background? Utter silence?) Is there a snack or beverage nearby? Are you alone or with friends/family (presumably being quiet enough for you to read in peace)? What kind of lighting is there? Are you dressed in something ultra-comfy? What’s your position? Curled up? Stretched out?
Now … describe it so that we can all feel exactly how perfect it is … and why.”
I’m stretched out in bed wearing my comfiest, fluffiest pajama bottoms and a light tank top, snuggled under the flannel sheets and our blue comforter, a pile of pillows behind my head. Beside me, the Beloved Husband props himself up against his own stack of pillows and reads a book of his own. Occasionally, I reach over to play with his hair and he’ll stroke the side of my foot with his own. At the foot of the bed, the cat stretches across both of us, purring – a little heated foot massage!
The window is cracked open to let in some of the cool night air. Through it also drifts the sounds of crickets chirping and the occasional car driving past on the road outside our home. It smells of damp concrete and freshly cut bushes.
The yellow light of my bedside lamp gives our small bedroom a warm glow. Right next to the lamp on my bedside table rests a steaming mug of chamomile tea (or cold milk, if it’s summertime) and a plate of peanut butter and honey toast.
The Beloved Husband and I read together until we start to doze. Then off goes the light and we cuddle up to go to sleep. A perfect end to a long day.