Well, I gotta tell you … about chapter 13 I got lost … lost, lost, lost … trying to follow the flow of action. Was I listening to events in the past? … the present? Is it actually happening or is it a just a dream? It was a bit perplexing, but by chapter 16 … or was it 17? … it smoothed out and I was again on track.

 This is not a linear story — most of it takes place in flashbacks, dreams, memories or another character’s mind. It is disconcerting until you realize … you realize that this is the author’s intent — but more than that, it is the author’s duty.

For a book or story to be really good, the author needs to bring the reader into the minds and lives of the characters. He or she needs to do this to make the situations and trials real. By making the situations and trials real to us, the readers,  the character becomes important to us – we become a part of the character and we are compelled to continue reading, to keep turning the pages, to see what happens to us.

So when we get confused about whether an event is happening now or at another time — in the past present or future — we shouldn’t become disgusted and set the book aside, we need to understand that this is what the people in the book are feeling, too, and feeling their confusion helps us to understand why they do the things they do. Of course, there is always the possibility that you are trying to plow through a piece of terrible and unsuccessful writing. It would seem to stand the test of good or bad if the confusing part didn’t continue on without end — that it resolved back into coherency again after a reasonable amount of pages.

Because of the nature of this genre, I think it must be imperative for the writer to be able to make the reader identify and associate himself with the main character or characters in the book. Horror or Science Fiction or Fantasy deals with the unnatural in settings or situations or thoughts, and without making the reader become a part of the the characters, it is little more than narrative, which might make for good reading, but doesn’t allow us to be a part of a character in the story. Stephen King has given us a chance to be someone else and has succeeded wonderfully at it.

The conveying of the confusion that Stephen King has done in “Dreamcatcher” is definitely not sloppy writing. It is skillful and is successful.

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