Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nicholas Sparks

Last night I read the first 96 pages of Nicholas Sparks’s novel, The Lucky One. Sparks has become one of my favorite novelists, and as I read those pages I consciously asked myself why. First of all, I decided, because Sparks knows how to tell a good story. I’m not yet deep into his plot, but he aroused my interest in the first five pages, a requirement for any novelist who hopes to get published. So I’ll stay with this. I want to know where this story is going.

Beyond plot, however, Sparks has a way of introducing his characters that I find compelling. He tells us more about what they do than about what they look like. Yet, in my mind’s eye, I have a picture of Logan Thibault. Ex-Marine, he has walked from Colorado to North Carolina. He’s tan and fit. Tall and lean. Nothing striking about his features, except long hair like Tarzan’s. I can almost picture him, but it may not be the picture the next reader has.

Same with Beth. Good looking, but in what way? At almost thirty, she’s more sexy than the co-eds her ex-husband has surprised at the nude beach. Is my picture of her like anyone else’s? It will do for me.

And Deputy Keith Clayton. Apparently good enough looking to be a successful womanizer, and fit enough for his law enforcement duties and to think he might enjoy taking on Logan Thibault.

Chances are, by the end of this book, Nicholas Sparks will have told me more about these characters, but for now I’m doing well enough on my own imagination. I don’t have to know the color of Logan’s hair. This is writing worth emulating.

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