20 April 2014

The Immersion Excursion

Have you ever picked up a book and read it from front to back in one sitting? Those are the books you discover by surprise.

Maybe you've experienced a story written by an author you'd never heard of, or one who created a one hit wonder and never wrote another word. How sad. I've read a few myself and now I ponder what glued me to my seat long enough to read an entire story without a break, not even for a bite to eat.


One common element shared by the quick reads I've discovered are the dialogue sequences. They're not thrown together simply to provide white space, making the pages less daunting. I recall meaningful dialogue, the kind which delivers progress in character development and plot.

And remember, the importance of dialogue is as much about what is said as it is about what is not said.


The setting is another element which completely immerses me into a story. It must be vividly clear to me where I am while experiencing the story. Recall Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings, Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series, and the land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz. All unique worlds, very distinct and memorable.

Don't be afraid to share your world. It makes the difference in the reader feeling welcome. When a visitor comes to your house, do you give them a tour or do you confine them to one room?

The 8 senses

When I was in high school, there were only 5 senses we were taught in health education and those were: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Today, we include the senses of time, space, and the unknown. I give examples of each in a post I shared back in 2011.

When you use this technique, I am so focused and entertained, I have no interest in being tantalized in the real world with seeing, tasting, smelling, or anything else. It's like magic to me because the words show me what I already know, therefore, I'm relating on a whole different level, entranced!

Detail in Descriptions

When I read something familiarly exquisite, I stick around. That means I feel comforted when I encounter the details of an item in a story such as a Sesame Seed Biscotti or French Vanilla flavored coffee. Don't be lazy. Share the details. 

The added details give me a sense that I belong where I am; therefore, I have no interest in moving away from the story. I'll keep going because the comfort level is more enticing than putting down the book to go and find something general and bland which I hadn't thought of just yet. 

I further share Dialogue, Detail, and Description in an earlier post.


This is an element I don't read about often, but I know what it is and what it does for me. Voice is something that is important when you read a lot of books. It will save time for the reader when they finally discover the one voice which speaks to them like Vincent Price reading "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. The way he dramatizes the reciting of the poem could be likened to an author's use of words and choice of cadence in the structure of their sentences.

It's difficult to immerse myself to this length these days because I work full time. But, I remember the days of middle school summer when I blazed through tons of Harlequin romances and wondered where the time had gone. I miss those days. I could immerse myself into another world, and these were the very elements which invited me to stay.

So, what keeps you on the page and turning until the very end?

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