I think I made up that word, but if Shakespeare can do it, so can I. The idea is that a writer sets out to evoke a mood or a time, and the success she has is what raises an ordinary story to an experience for the reader.

I mentioned a while back that Margaret Atwood is a master at it. I'm also lucky enough right now to be involved in two other books that are great "evokers." It's great fun, because in the morning at breakfast I'm in Atwood's post-WWI miasma; while my husband watches baseball I'm rapt with Jack Reacher's tough-the-way-he-likes-it life; and at the end of the day I snatch a chapter or two from the bedside table, enjoying P.J. Parrish's deft touches that bring characters to life without them saying much at all.

We all use words: that's what we have. Some of us, however, make the words transubstantiate, like wine into blood. The right words, the right syntax, the right metaphor, and reader is no longer reading. She's feeling the emotions of a character who doesn't exist and never did. She's seeing what that character sees, and she has the sense that she has seen exactly the same thing.

It's good writing, and it makes for the best reading.

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