I talk to the books I’m reading, or more specifically the characters in them.
If you put ten writers in a room and asked them what the key was to any story, you would probably get ten different answers. I personally think there is no definitive answer to this question, there a great number of things that make a good story. Whether it be a coherent narrative, likeable characters or any other of the dozens of things that make great stories when put together.
Any good story must be able to catch the writer’s imagination however, it must be able to make them laugh, cry or cringe. We’ve all read books that have had this effect on us, we’ve cringed at a gory scene or laughed when our favourite character has done something only to then be driven to tears when they’re killed off in the next chapter. We then sit there cursing the writer because they have cruelly murdered our favourite character, despite knowing that in a narrative sense it was the correct thing to do.
It never ceases to amaze me how the written word can fire our imagination in a way that no other medium can. I personally think it’s because we feel a sense of ownership, we imprint our own idea of how things look onto these imaginary worlds and people. How many of us have sat there decrying casting director’s choices of people to play certain roles in screen adaptations of stories; this guy right here for one.
This is not a bad thing.
Being passionate about fiction is a good thing, no, a great thing. I talk to the characters like they’re real and that’s when I know a story has really got me. If you need to remind yourself that it’s a work of fiction, well, you’ve reached the promised land of reading in my opinion.