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suspensewriter

Strangers and Chimpanzees

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Posted (edited)

I came across this quote by Orson Scott Card today and I found it interesting:'

 

"As readers, we're like chimpanzees studying a stranger.  If the stranger makes a sudden move, we bound away a few steps, then turn and watch again.  If the stranger gets involved in doing something, paying no attention to us, we come closer, try to see what he's doing, try to understand him."

 

I thought that was a wonderful description of the way that characters attract and repel us.  What do you think?

Edited by suspensewriter
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I can see this. Too many times a stranger will make a sudden move by coming on too strong for a character, cause, or situation in an attempt to manipulate the reader. I like it best when I'm watching something unfold in due time, but not too slowly.

 

I think it's like watching a house get built. Everyday the construction crew shows up, does their work, and progress is made. I get to watch an empty lot get transformed into a beautiful new home. Now imagine the same crew showing up and breaking out into an over-choreographed musical, just for me, and nothing actually gets built. Silly and unproductive. That book gets tossed after the first chapter (or sooner).

 

Just my 2 cents... 

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My goodness, Accord64. A person would think you had an active, creative mind, like maybe for writing books?

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I should keep this in mind.  I don't want to scare my readers.

2 hours ago, Accord64 said:

 

Now imagine the same crew showing up and breaking out into an over-choreographed musical, just for me, and nothing actually gets built. Silly and unproductive.

This made me chuckle!  ☺️

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11 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

My goodness, Accord64. A person would think you had an active, creative mind, like maybe for writing books?

 

148187593_giphy(53).gif.b7a78c1d624c2ee3f7b6a6488b181577.gif

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15 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

"As readers, we're like chimpanzees studying a stranger.  If the stranger makes a sudden move, we bound away a few steps, then turn and watch again.  If the stranger gets involved in doing something, paying no attention to us, we come closer, try to see what he's doing, try to understand him."

 

I can see this, another example might be rubbernecking on the freeway. No one wants to see the blood and gore, but they just can't help themselves and have to slow down to look. Creating another problem in the process. Then drive away at great speeds when they realize what they've done, all while trying NOT to become another accident with the other driver doing the same thing.

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Yeah, Accord64, but what do you do if a band of chimpanzees shows up and does the musical?

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54 minutes ago, RADerdeyn said:

Yeah, Accord64, but what do you do if a band of chimpanzees shows up and does the musical?

 

Didn't they already try something like this? 😉

 

634368927_giphy(57).gif.b853b3672e8a5a474405015ecebcf8ad.gif

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3 hours ago, Accord64 said:

 

Didn't they already try something like this? 😉

 

634368927_giphy(57).gif.b853b3672e8a5a474405015ecebcf8ad.gif

Oh!  I just noticed that this is the "Monkees"!  😄 

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And they made bank if I recall correctly. Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all. 

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But, you've got to be careful, because readers are also like T-Rexes (at least in the way that Jurassic Park portrayed them). They are attracted to MOVEMENT!

 

You don't want to watch an architect sit in a meadow and imagine a house that might someday be built there.

 

Stuff has to happen. You just need to balance it out so it's believable enough for the readers in your genre.

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54 minutes ago, Thomas Davidsmeier said:

But, you've got to be careful, because readers are also like T-Rexes (at least in the way that Jurassic Park portrayed them). They are attracted to MOVEMENT!

 

Yup!  😉

 

giphy(54).gif.56d7c20550280f154eafd9210bdf3b89.gif

 

 

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