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Katie Pacosky - TED Talk Script

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Imagine,
*INSERT VISUAL*
a fog covered cemetery at midnight, a young girl is walking through the rows of graves and
stops suddenly before one. She is trembling as she reads the epitaph, she knows the person
whose grave she is staring at. It is her new friend that she thought to be a living person, but is
really a member of the walking dead. Suddenly, the friend is behind her, a boy her age. His
eyes are blood red and his skin is torn, showing bits of his milky white bones. This dead boy is
hungry for human flesh as he stalks towards her, assuring her that becoming like him doesnt
hurt. The terrified girl backs away, knowing that there is no way out. *TAKE OUT VISUAL*

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PAUSE

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How far on the edge of your seat did that send you? Pretty far Im sure. But what was it that put
you there? Was it the spooky setting of a foggy cemetery, the characters, or the very idea of a
late night attack from your new zombie friend? All of these things are essential to this scene. Its
characteristics like these that make stories exciting and fun to read.

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Books and stories are made for a specific purpose; to take us on a journey, a different world.
They make us experience an assortment of different feelings and sometimes make us feel like
we ourselves are the main character. They provide us with inspiration to feel or do certain
actions. But what is it about these stories that makes us like them so much? What makes us fall
in love with books? Allow me to explain this.

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Well, first off, its because good stories have a way of putting us inside its setting, entrapping us
in the scenes being created. If the setting and surrounding events are well written it almost
transports you to the world it is describing, and it allows you to fully imagine the characters and
scenery as you read everything play out.

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SMALL PAUSE
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Imagine your favorite book or story, think about where it takes place. Does the setting of the
book and the way its described make you feel like you yourself are there? Do you even maybe
feel like you are the main character? Take the example I gave at the beginning. This example
comes from the book Welcome to Dead House by childrens horror author R.L. Stine. Horror
settings such as the one from this book are written in a way to terrify us and at the same time,
make us feel like we are there with the characters, watching the scene unfold. For instance, in
this example, you are no longer sitting in the living room surrounded by lamp light in your own
home, but now you are in the foggy cemetery with the terrified main character Amanda Benson,
running for your life from the zombie boy Ray Thurston.

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Now you may be wondering: if the setting and scene is written to scare us, why do we love it?
Well, its because it causes you to experience it for yourself, it gets your adrenaline and
imagination flowing. This goes for all genres of books. That teen romance in your favorite story
that you wish you had for yourself? The book makes it possible for you to experience that for
awhile in your mind with the dreamy hunk of a character that is the love interest. Youve always
wanted to fight evil attack robots? Your favorite science fiction story can transport you right onto
the techy battlefield setting for your mental shootout with the mechanical enemy.

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As stated above, we as humans have wants and desires. And sometimes these desires are to
live a different life. An article from OMF Literature Inc. suggests that the reason we love the
stories that we do is because the worlds they put us in reflect a desire that we have. It is
suggested that you may enjoy a story about a mummy more if youve always wanted to visit or
live in ancient Egypt, or if youve always wanted to experience what its like to be a princess,
youd probably enjoy a fantasy tale a bit more.

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When you can feel yourself mentally being placed inside a books world, the experience
changes. This allows an escape route to another place and live a different life for awhile,
especially if you can imagine that you are the main character. But, for that to be possible, it
always helps if the character is relatable to you.

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This brings us to my next point of why we fall in love with the books and stories that we do. The
characters. These are the people that we spend the entire book learning about and getting to
know, its almost impossible not to love them. More times than not, if the character is someone
that we can relate to and root for, we are more likely to enjoy the book. If the character is
someone that reminds us of ourselves, or if they have a tendency to do whats right for
themselves and others, it helps us enjoy them more as well.

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Take the main character Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series. She is a highly
recognizable, relatable and likeable main character because she shows a sense of heroism and
good doing throughout the book series. Katniss puts her family and friends first which is seen as
an admirable trait by many. Katniss character even allows us to put ourselves in her shoes in
some situations throughout the series, as we can relate to her with some of her decisions. Such
as taking her sisters place in the games, anyone with a strong sibling bond like Katniss and
Prims, can most likely say that they would do the same in a life or death situation like this one.
It is Katniss good guy title that makes her an enjoyable character to read about.

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Not just the protagonist in a story can be likeable though, sometimes the characters on the other
side of the conflict are just as or even more enjoyable than the good guys. Yes, even the villains
of the books can be just as great. These are often the characters that we hate to love. Because
while yes we want the protagonist to succeed in coming out on top at the end of the book, but
theres just something about the antagonist that we love too much to want to see them get beat
too badly.
*INSERT VISUAL*
Some examples of this would be Slappy the evil ventriloquist dummy from the R.L. Stine book
Night of the Living Dummy: hes so evil, but he keeps the reader in love with him with his witty
comebacks and diabolical shenanigans. Another example is the character known as The
Master, a creature made to look like a twisted version of the devil himself from the book A
Faerie Tale by Raymond Feist. Again, being evil, but the reason the reader enjoys him is
because of his seeming ability to read the readers mind and transform into the mythical
creature that they are thinking about at the present time. *TAKE AWAY VISUAL*

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All book characters can be relatable and enjoyed, it is a key reason in why we love our favorite
stories. A quote from Nose Graze states that: The character doesnt have to be perfect, of
course. They dont even have to be nice. But I need to be able to care about them or click with
them in some way. If I have nothing but hatred or cold indifference for a character, how can I
like the book?.

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SMALL PAUSE

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A great deal can be taken away from the characters in books. They put us in their shoes and
make us love them or hate to love them in some cases. These characters can even teach us
lessons or make us think a certain way and give us a new perspective on things. This fact
brings me directly to my third and final point.

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All books generally have a central theme around them, aimed to teach a lesson that stays with
the reader even after the book is finished. My third point is that books and stories can provide us
with inspiration to make our own works of art and can even make us feel or do certain emotions
or actions. The books that we fall so deeply in love with can have the effect of inspiration on us.
They can inspire us to write our own stories, songs or poems celebrating our favorite scene from
the book, or just the book itself. Inspiration is a part of what keeps art forms such as literature
fresh and new after all.

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I was talking with my brother the other day. As an aspiring story writer himself he told me that:
Being that writing is an art form, inspiration is a must have. Inspiration is important for any
artistic field of talent, and reading the works of others is a good way to both study and improve
upon your own unique form of writing. Now agreeing with my brother, I can say that with an
inspired mind, the skys the limit for what can be created.

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Books can also cause its readers to gain a new perspective on a certain part of life. The way a
theme is presented can cause the reader to do certain actions, good and bad. If the way a
character acted throughout the majority of the book appeals to the reader, this behavior can
inspire them to act the same to the people that they know, thus following the example of the
character.

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Another feeling that books can provide us with is a sense of belonging and hope. A quote from
OMF Literature Inc. says that: We love reading about what other people have gone through
and how theyve overcome a lot to be where they are now. It makes us feel that we are not
alone and that there is a hope that we can hold on to. If a book represents a certain battle that
the reader may be going through as well, this lets the reader know that they arent alone, and it
can make them feel better about the situation in a lot of cases, thus making them love the story
even more.

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As I said in the beginning, books and stories are created to do a variety of different things. They
transport us into alternate universes that we desire, allow us know and love their characters no
matter what side of the conflict they may be on, and that books provide us with an array of
feelings and perspectives that we can chose to act upon for ourselves. These three points are
just some of the essential reasons why we love the books that we do.

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If you chose to accept my views on this topic, I can assure you that the next time you pick up
that favorite book of yours, no matter what the genre, you will be able to pick out these three
points clearly as you read, and you will be able to see the beauty of them inaction as they bring
your favorite storyline to life. You might even realize that one of these three points is your main
reason to love the book. Maybe you didnt even know it before this discussion either. Allow
yourself to be enlightened about why it is that we love stories, and give my argument some
thought.

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Thank you.

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