At the beginning of each semester, I give my students a questionnaire, asking them, among other things, what they like and dislike about writing. About 70% respond that they like writing because they can express themselves, their ideas, their opinions, and their feelings. About 40%, however, say that they don’t like writing about topics that don’t interest them. One student wrote, “I like writing when it’s not boring or on a boring topic. I don’t like writing long essays on a random book or a topic not interesting. I have to be interested in my writing and reading.”
(The results of an experiment, described in the first and second parts of this series about the writerly reader. A condensed version of this study appears in my book Narrative Madness, which you can acquire at narrativemadness.com or on Amazon. I have sometimes altered spelling, punctuation and capitalization in the responses to make them more accessible.)
Twenty respondents (71%) gave their longest answers to the question “What happened?”, sometimes two, three, four and five times longer. Obviously, this is the part of the story that matters.