I love a good story. I love plot twists and characters that are engaging and interesting. I also love to see and hear those stories across multiple platforms. Even though it predates me, I have sometimes imagined sitting in the living room gathered around a radio listening to the old westerns like The Lone Ranger or Hopalong Cassidy. Even today I will occasionally listen to one of my favorites in that medium, The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles.
Of course, film and television paint a broader picture, taking the description in a story and bringing it to life for all to see. The special effects industry has surpassed itself in creating anything your mind can conjure in an astounding level of detail. Actors and actresses who have mastered their craft put faces and personalities to what was once just a name on a page. My sister recently commented on how Peter Benchley’s Jaws was incredibly different from book to film. Benchley had a hand in the screen adaptation’s writing, however my sister still thought the book was better. Even though I personally loved it, many think the film version of The Lord of the Rings was not up to par with Tolkien’s original tomes. The separation comes when your mind conceives what you are reading and paints it’s own picture. Then on the big screen your mind’s picture is vastly different from what the director wants in the movie. There are many well-made shows and films that tell amazing stories, but in the end, my favorite platform is still a book.
I don’t mean e-books either. I don’t want to knock the platform, mind you. Technology has created a way for you to have an entire library in the palm of your hand! An astounding feat indeed, but for this consumer of stories, my favorite way to drown in a tale is flipping the pages of an old book. I want to smell that pulp. I want to feel the heft and the roughness of the pages. I want to hear the spine of the book crackle when I open and close it.
Some might say it’s archaic. Some might say I’m a Luddite. That’s O.K…. I identify with both of those descriptions. There is something about cracking the cover of a book and delving into a world that comes to life in your imagination. You can get the same experience from an e-book, but for me, I just like a plain old book.
To get back to the part of this that’s relevant, it is not so much about the medium as it is about the story. I remember reading the book Congo by Michael Crichton. My copy was a used paperback I picked up at a yard sale. The condition of it told me it had been well-worn and probably mistreated in it’s storage, but never judge a book by its cover. I read that wonderful book from start to finish in about 15 hours. I could not put it down! I had a similar experience with The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, and then again with the Grail Quest trilogy and The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell. Just recently I did the same with Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Thrawn series and Noosejumpers by Trevor H. Cooley. I read them in record time and the stories were superb. What was it about them that drew me in so hard? It’s simple really… they told a good story.
That’s why I have started my foray into writing… to tell a good story. It is my sincere hope that if you ever pick up a book I have written, no matter what platform it’s on, that when you close the back cover or power down your Kindle after finishing the last page that you will sit back, ponder and think to yourself, “Wow, that was definitely a good story.”
Parks and Rec Programmer by day, writer by night! Outdoorsman, historian, author, woodworker, and lover of all things Star Wars. And before you ask... yes, working at Parks and Rec is just like the tv show, only crazier.
Debut novel, "Code Name: Augustine" coming soon. Check it out!
View all posts by Lyle S. Russell