World

Whenever writers create credible worlds, each of these imagined spaces holds the attention of readers and audiences by making us share, care about and appreciate the actions and events that happen within its borders. Such borders might be close to the real world, adjacent to it, or far away from it. The distance is less relevant than the convincing representation of this space as authentic, consistent, believable, so that we feel our interest will be rewarded. Cinema audiences watching films whose setting is contemporary, respond to shots of cities, highways, deserts, rivers, streets and home interiors. These spaces connect with spaces they feel they could travel to and from. Fiction writers have to do this through words. The novelist Margaret Atwood remembers being told early on in her career, 'Respect the pageā€”it's all you've got'! All forms of creative writing, including poems, need to persuade readers to keep attending, because the world of their invention has a distinct reality. A basic element of this hold on the reader is the skill of verbal realisation.

Stories can't happen without places made real to us as we read. As the writer John Berger explains, 'When we read a story we inhabit it. The covers of a book are like a roof and four walls' (Berger, 1992:15) But this feature applies just as much to other creative forms, as in this poem by the Canadian poet Gary Geddes:

'Sandra Lee Scheuer' (Killed at Kent State University on May 4th, 1970, by the Ohio National Guard)

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