I was talking about books with a writing friend and the difference between reading a book and other forms of entertainment. It struck me that reading a book is much more intimate than most other forms of entertainment.
With movies, there are whole casts, producers, directors, and scores of others who mold the story before it ever reaches your eyes. Television is the same. In fact, often it's more enjoyable to watch a movie or TV show with another person to take it in together. There's something about sitting with others that makes the experience more enjoyable. For example, it was much more fun watching Bridesmaids at the theater and hearing other people laughing along with me. Not only is the process of making the tv, movie or even a play much more of a group process than writing a book, so is the viewing of it. You can watch any of them alone, but they aren't designed to be that 'consumed' that way.
With music, it's great to listen alone in your car, jamming out with the radio on a beautiful summer day, but it's even more fun to listen at a concert. There's that energy at a concert that adds to the fun as you sing along with all the other concert goers. It's not for nothing that a party doesn't start until the music begins playing. Am I right?
With reading though, it's just the reader and the story. There are exceptions, but the majority of the time, it's one person with one book. It's like a direct transfer of the story from the author's mind to the reader's imagination. The words carry it there, but there's nothing else. No fancy graphics. No special effects. Just words on paper or virtual paper.
How cool is it that one person can create a story in their imagination and find the right words to bring it to life so that another person can read it and be entertained? In the case of a novel, that entertainment cast last hours--usually a minimum of three to four, depending on the length of the book. I mean, that's kind of crazy when you think about it.
The goal of all authors is to create a story out of thin air which will keep an individual reading to find out what happens. We don't write to entertain crowds. Nope. Just one person at a time. If we're lucky, we get to repeat that performance thousands of times, but at it's basic, it's one story and one reader.