Writing comes with a mindset – at least it did for me. When I was just a reader stories were an escape, a wonderful adventure that I could simply immerse myself in. I read for the joy of it, not really thinking much of the “man behind the curtain.”
Once I started writing though, things changed. It was subtle at first – a slight shift in perceptions, more of an interest in the physical words on the page rather than just the images they conjured. As I struggled to put my own words down, to conjure images the same way they had been conjured for me, I found myself returning to the old familiar stories and studying what exactly it was that went on behind the curtain.
A story is no longer “just” a story – it is a thing to be studied, dissected, and analyzed. I want to know why some stories work and others do not. Why I love one story and hate another, why one character feels real while another is flatter than a piece of cardboard. Why is it that some stories that are so predictable one knows the ending from the first sentence are beloved while others that may follow the exact same beats are hated.
Yes, it’s annoying that I can never again see “just” a story. Anything I read is now work because the analytical mind won’t be shut down. But it’s also freeing, in a way. The world behind the curtain is just as magical as the world in front of it.