I’ve been doing a lot of reading about what makes a fabulous story. Is it character development? Lyrical language? Properly placed plot points? (Is it alliteration?) What makes that book so intoxicating that you can’t put it down, so addictive that you neglect your family, your housekeeping, heck, even sleeping and showering—just to find out what happens next?
“These results suggest that readers use perceptual and motor representations in the process of comprehending narrated activity, and these representations are dynamically updated at points where relevant aspects of the situation are changing,” says Speer, now a research associate with The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program in Boulder, Colo. “Readers understand a story by simulating the events in the story world and updating their simulation when features of that world change.”
Psychological Science. 2009 Aug;20(8):989-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02397.x. Epub 2009 Jun 30)
Art is fire plus algebra
—Jorge Luis Borges