My Twisted Writer Brain…

What’s the Difference Between a Good Book and a Great one?

This is a picture of a bronze plaque implanted into the sidewalk leading up to the New York City Public Library. I took this picture last summer while exploring the city.

Have you ever wondered why some books are simply “good” when others are “great”? Consider what the book does to the reader?

In the last several months I’ve read many books by different authors, in different genres, and several styles. Everything from short stories, to huge nonfiction generational life-stories, to poetry, to young adult.

Reading helps the writer in many unconscious ways. Every successful writer will tell you that if you want to write, then you need to read.

Things like timing, cadence, and structure will imprint on your brain… There’s still a lot of learning to do but reading is the first step in becoming a writer.

When reading, it’s important to open your eyes and recognize what you enjoy about a given piece of work and why.

A good book takes you away to another place, but a great book sets you in the middle of the scene and lights up your imagination and senses until you can smell the bacon frying in the nearby pan.

When I read the quote above, I noted first and foremost the use of language… the “great” vs. good and “many experiences” vs. one linear note.

To me, it’s all about engaging the senses.

When a reader can feel, smell, see, taste, hear, and otherwise appreciate the words on a page as something that needs to be experienced and lived, as opposed to simply observing and/or judging, then the reader is fully engaged and saturated with experience.

A big part of this is the rule of ‘show don’t tell’, but it needs to be done properly.

A book does not need to be dripping in description. In fact, that can be off-putting, or even boring.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading a romance, a memoir, or a self-care book, there needs to be a connection between the writer and the reader in order to have that shared experience.

Pay attention next time you read as to how much the text engages you with the work.

And, pay attention to one that sucks you right into that scene and takes you on an adventure.

Happy reading.

Tell me your thoughts below and different ways you slip in sensory stimulation without hitting the reader over the head.


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4 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between a Good Book and a Great one?”

  1. I love historical fiction because not only does the story entertain me but I am learning something new

    1. Hola Carman. I too love historical fiction or even creative nonfiction for the same reason. Always good to learn along the way.😃 Thanks for stopping by.

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