Watching bad B-movies makes me wonder if my own writing is as stilled and one dimensional. I suppose many authors (aspiring or otherwise) feel this way. But the goal for me is to create something enveloping, but how does one know if it is so? If a story is not enveloping, not immersive, if it does not make the reader forget that he/she is reading, then its appears to me to be a systemic issue with the writing. After all, what is that thing (or lack thereof) that makes one forget that they are reading? Readers can say that something is well written but it may never be immersive.
It is hard to give feedback on writing on something that is so intimately pervasive throughout the work. More so than with concepts like “tone,” being immersive cannot be confined to finding the right words. Immersive seems to be to be some sort of holistic quality that cannot be parsed out from certain sentence structures and word choices. While certain mistakes can “take one out of it,” that is more an issue of being immersive and then kicking the reader out of that world. But how to be immersive (or create an immersive environment) in the first place?
Perhaps it is the story that is being written. Some situations maybe are just innately more immersive than others. Or, more likely, it has to do with the audience – some situations are immersive to some, and not at all to others. After all, there are people who hate Lord of the Rings and plenty of others that don’t find any books to be immersive and so (unfortunately) don’t read.
Perhaps being immersive is not a passive aspect to a story but an active one. In other words, if the reader wants to be in that world, it is immersive and enveloping. Therefore, part of the answer is having characters that both the writer and reader want to spend time with. It is also situations that the reader wants to learn more about and even explore outside the boundaries of the page (e.g., writing fan fiction in that universe).
Immersive environments distinguish great books from merely good ones. Well-written does not always yield an immersive environment either. And as an aspiring writer, I need to make the books as 3-dimensional as possible, not one dimensional like a bad B-movie.