Larry says this about a particular magical element—the secret weapon—of storytelling:
I call it vicarious experience, one of the major underlying story forces—essences—that impart power, weight and impact to novels and screenplays. Vicarious experience is delivered through setting, or though social, cultural or relational dynamics... Every story unfolds upon a dramatic stage. What we’re talking about is recognizing the opportunity to make that stage—both in support of your story, and as an independent source of focus and fascination—more compelling. This is the forgotten stepchild of both story planning and story “pantsing,” when in fact it can empower either process. When you add your story to a setting that delivers vicarious experience – when you set your story within this time, place or context that is, when regarded alone, inherently interesting – then you get a sum in excess of the parts...
Take a look at your story and ask yourself what kind of vicarious experience you are delivering to your reader. All stories take us out of our own lives and into another existence, but does your setting—either time, place, contextual or relational—contribute to the reading experience in an exciting, compelling, even frightening way? One that is vicarious? One that readers will be drawn to—drawn into—by virtue of this alone?
Brilliant advice! My enjoyment of The Counterfeit Consul came in a large part from the way the author built up an historic world for me, a reader who has no chance of travelling back in time to experience either the place or the happenings of the historical period for myself.
|The Counterfeit Consul|
This is an original spy novel with much to enjoy. The author's style suits the era and the subject matter. The intricacies of the plot unfold carefully, almost too slowly in the beginning as the author sets the scene for what is potentially an international firestorm. I enjoyed the meticulous details bringing the various characters to life. The author also paints an incredibly detailed picture of the New York of the early twentieth century: loud, tawdry, corrupt and filled with clubs, drinkers, bookies, gamblers, and goodtime gals. In this, the author succeeds admirably in taking the reader back to another era. Although some editing could speed up the pace of the action, the unfolding of events brings its own suspense-filled timing. With an interesting final twist to the tale, this is a great read for readers who enjoy historical and spy thrillers.
First Reviewed by Fiona I. for Readers Favorite