Tuesday 9 February 2021

Ludic Reading and Getting Lost in a Book


Yes, I do mean ludic and not lucid. I was once accused of having a typo in an academic paper because I’d used this expression.  The reader had thought I meant lucid.  No, ludic is the word.

Stops seeing the marks 

It literally means playful. Ludic reading means reading has become a game, a source of entertainment and recreation, rather than just a task.  And this happens, in my opinion, when you stop seeing the little marks on the page, when you stop turning those into words and you cut to the chase. You just see a film in your head. The question for you as a writer is can you create the same film in your reader’s head? Is this not the ultimate test of whether your writing is working or not?


Not everyone can do this

It isn’t that straight forward, though, for not everyone has this experience. Some people do not like reading fiction and quite is possibly because they cannot get into the state. I once shared a table at our local film club with a lady who had an MSc and so was a competent reader. She enjoyed films so she had no problem with story.  She just couldn’t pick up story by reading a book.  

I spent over twenty-five years teaching in comprehensive schools in the UK. I met plenty of students who could read competently enough but didn’t enjoy reading.  They never had this experience either.


The lucky ones

Those of us who can get “lost in a book” are the lucky ones. We can be transported to other worlds.  This is especially useful in these days of “lockdowns”. I can experience this as well when I’m writing my own works or editing other people’s.

I’ve talked to my university students about this.  They all study English, Drama or Creative Writing. They all have this experience too.  They probably have to, in order to be interested in those subjects.

Shall we take it to extremes and become like Mo in Corneila Funke’s Inkheart series, able to make characters become real and walk out of books? Or, even more sinisterly as he did to his own wife, put a character into a story? Ah but isn’t that what we writers are supposed to do anyway?     


Image by Leandro De Carvalho from Pixabay     

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