Monday, April 9, 2012

[Link] Psychology of Reading

by J.R. Nova

To me storytelling goes deeper into the psychology of “character” than real life can, because real life develops too slowly for us to sit back and see it all unfold in one sitting. A well-written story is always going to be profound in some way because it captures a life and shows us what it contains.

I feel it's very important to understand psychology, to understand what makes people tick and why they do the things they do and feel as they do. Story has shined a light on aspects of human nature not readily available elsewhere.

Because, as I read, I've always been shining that light on myself.

Story lets me see how a human being reacts to life, and how those reactions eventually change who they are and what is happening to them. Real people have little perspective on their own lives, and it's often easier to understand what is happening to others than to understand what is happening to ourselves.

Real life is like standing inches from a stone wall, and not being able to tell that it's part of a mountain five miles high. What story offers us is a chance to get out from under the shadow of the mountain, to travel ten miles away, and see how the mountain looks in its entirety.

Reading a story is like seeing someone's life unfold in a single week (the time it takes to read a book). Whether it's fiction or biography, we have an opportunity to understand another life.

No matter how exotic a story may be, the emotions each character has is being fed by the real emotions and experiences of the author. The best books contain characters readers can relate to, because they can share the rich joy, sadness, anger or fear of the character as she reacts to plot.

This is why writing is so important. This is why reading is so important.

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