Monday, November 15, 2010

Story - Book

by Raelene Gorlinsky

I'm trying to watch my words. To me, a "book" can be any format. But most people still associate that word with print on paper. If I am talking about a specific product, then I differentiate--a print book, an ebook, an audio book (and who knows what could come in future). But here's the important point--what authors, editors and publishers deal with is not a "book", it is a story. That's what we care about--the words themselves, the ideas and information they convey. Authors write a story, editors acquire and edit a story, publishing companies produce and distribute a story. That story will be provided to readers in a variety of formats, but that doesn't necessarily change the story itself.

One of my favorite sayings is All words are pegs to hang ideas on. The terms you use have an effect on people's perceptions, sometimes beyond what you intend. It's like the old argument about using "man" or "mankind" to describe human beings as a whole. Yes, logically we all know that word means everyone, regardless of gender. But what it conveys subconsciously is that males represent the world, are the important people, and women are subsidiary. The underlying implications of words are more often limiting rather than inclusive.

So I'm trying to remember to use "story" instead of "book". Because that's what is important--the story you are telling, not the format in which the story appears.

1 comment:

Rosalie Lario said...

I think it's so easy to get caught up in the "print" product that we often forget the most important thing. It's not the pages that have value, but the story imprinted on them. This is what readers pay for.