The Analogy Machine

Since I’m in Christmas break mode, I kind of forgot that yesterday was Monday… and that I usually blog on Mondays… So we’ll pretend that today is Monday, not Tuesday, and that tomorrow is Tuesday (think Thrill Seekers) not Wednesday.

over the Alps at sunrise

The analogy (which is more a musing)

Did you know that, at any given moment, more than 61,000 people are airborne over the U.S.? We’re so used to defying gravity in our jumbo jets. Yet last week as my plane took off from San Fransisco International, I found myself encouraging the still land-bound plane: come on, you can do it, you can leap off the ground and soar into the air —

Sometimes, at least to me, it feels like the airplane I’m in is never going to get enough oomph to get off the ground. The runway seems to stretch forever as the engines groan and the wheels screech and the pilots get ready for lift off. What makes this (excuse the un-romantic description) pile of metal, nails, wheels, carpet, seats, engines, wings, and windows defy gravity?

The connection (which is more a musing, too)

I’m not a pre-engineering/physics major, so if you want a technical explanation, Google it.

But as I was prying the plane off the runway in my mind, listening to the engines roar and watching SFO disappear behind me, I thought: what makes a book get off the ground?

If you think about it, books are just words. Verbs and participles, names and places and things, sentences and paragraphs, strings of action and story lines and character arcs. But somewhere, somehow, all this things tangle together and come alive.

Your turn to muse.

When does a book stop being a pile of words — and become a story that readers love? What’s the magic oomph that makes the story soar?


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2 responses to “The Analogy Machine

  1. The characters, esp. the main character.

    Some might disagree with me, but I honestly think the characters of a book are the most important element to making a book come alive. After all, they’re the ones that we’re supposed to think of as alive – if the characters seem flat or dead, not even the most electrifying prose can bring them to life. (See what I did there? haha)

    • writerkirsty

      haha, love the pun. I think you’re really right — lots of things contribute to making a book seem alive, but without flesh-and-blood characters, a book’s pretty flat.

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