What you-had-to-be-there jokes tell us about good writing

We’ve all had that really funny experience that is never funny when we try to tell it to other people. “You had to be there,” we say as an excuse for our lack of eloquence. But it’s not our fault, is it? There are simply some very hilarious moments that are only hilarious if we were actually there.

So what of good books

I find very often that the best reading experiences I have allow me to be completely immersed in a story that it feels as though I am actually there, watching it all happen and not just hearing it told to me. Sometimes I find myself trying to recount certain scenes to friends and end up saying “you had to be there,” like it’s their fault they weren’t, and realize that, well, neither was I.  In fact, nobody was. So how did the author do it?

I may have found the answer

I may have found the answer, but I’m not completely sure yet. As a reader, I’d love to have my shelves filled with only those sorts of novels. But as a writer, I’d like to know how to make them. Like I said, I think I may have found the answer, but you’ll need to keep waiting until my next project to see if I have, and I’ll need to wait until then to see if it works.