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Before I ventured down this path of no return, I don’t remember being bothered whether the author ‘told’ the story, rather than ‘showed’ it. I didn’t even consider ‘whose POV is this from?’ or if the author was too descriptive/not descriptive enough. And I can honestly say – hand on heart – I didn’t notice ‘repetitive sentence starts’ or ‘crutch words’ and since when did ‘filter words’ become the big no-no?
Back in the day, I read voraciously (I still do), enjoying historical fiction or mysteries more than anything. The joy of reading then was pure escapism – not to dissect the story structure, interrogate the character’s mindset and prove beyond any doubt it was the butler “what dun’ it”. (It’ll come as no surprise that I hated English Lit with all my heart and grammar was something I had nightmares about).
So, what changed? Writing, that’s what.
I fell into the NaNo swamp and thought, ‘hey, I can get out, with a brilliant story to boot.’ But, truth was, I couldn’t. I wrote the necessary 50,000 words and could bore you rigid with the details of my story – the one that lies in a forlorn state on my external hard drive – but I won’t. (It’ll make a comeback one day – just you wait and see!)
When I realised how bad – nay, dire – my efforts were, then I took the only option available and sought out a critique group.
I would nail this writing lark if it killed me.
Until the dreaded feedback returned with comments like ‘this is a POV glitch’, ‘you’re head-hopping’, ‘what does the character want?’, ‘where’s the conflict?’ – I’ll not go on because the memories make me want to bang my head on the table (and I already got stunned by a falling ladder yesterday, but that’s another story!)
Can you switch this inner editor off when you read? I know I can’t … hell, I can’t even switch it off when I’m writing – if that red, squiggly line shows up then I just have to fix it. But when I’m reading, this annoying new-found knowledge can spoil a good book (not that good you might say if I can find fault with it now). I sometimes think I’m too critical these days, fussing over a typo or a sentence in need of some punctuation. But it matters. Now. It didn’t before – when ignorance was bliss. But now it does.
What’s a person to do? Stop reading? That’s a “NO” from me. Maybe audiobooks are the way forward – if I can’t see them, maybe I won’t notice those pesky filter words. I might try that …
Watch this space.
Oh, and thanks for reading 🙂
It might be the cough medicine I’m taking, but I’m convinced strange things have been happening on Goodreads.
For those of you unfamiliar with Goodreads, it’s a social cataloging site for booklovers (readers & writers alike)
Authors can list their books for readers to find, read and (hopefully) review. There are many thriving communities, discussing a wide range of topics – whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, or have a penchant for the Classics, there’s a group for you.
However, as with most things that seem too good to be true, there is also a darker underbelly of trolls. The kind of people who take pleasure in leaving one star ratings without a comment, or even worse with the inexcusable comment of “I didn’t read this book”.
The Book Fairy is leaving 4 and 5 star ratings willy nilly – all without comment. Could she possibly have waited to post all her ratings in one go, one the same day, or is she simply seeking to restore some balance?
We’ll never know, that’s for sure.
Regardless, these ratings – while much nicer to see 4 or 5 stars – still don’t attract new readers, If you’re anything like me, seeing a whole swarm of ratings without any comments doesn’t sway the decision to read that book one iota. Comments (or reviews, whatever you want to call them) don’t have to be long and no-one expects glowing reviews every time – so if you enjoyed a book, tell everyone why. Conversely, if you didn’t enjoy it, feel free to say why also. You never know, your review might just be the one that helps a reader find a new favourite author – or you just might highlight something that helps a reader to avoid buying a book they most likely won’t enjoy. Either way it’s a service to the book-loving community. Not every book suits every reader and not every reader suits every book.
In the meantime, thank you to the Book Fairy for prompting me to write this post. I feel another swig of cough syrup coming on …and maybe it’s time to curl up with a good book too.
Thank you for reading 🙂
After asking for your recommendations, I’m excited to hide my nose in a good book again. I’ve even ordered real books – the ones with paper and everything!!
While I love my Kindle, maybe my reading practice was just getting too regimental. Having a physical book will – hopefully – rekindle (pun intended) my love for reading.
And, I’ll be asking for more recommendations from you all again.
These little darlings are winging there way to me right now – some as ebooks but a couple by post:
Thank you to all who replied with a recommendation.
This month I surpassed my reading goal for the year. Yay, go me! (okay, so I probably underestimated how many books I’d read – 60 seemed like a good starting point at first)
But as the month went on, I struggled to enjoy—and sometimes, even finish—books that I’d been looking forward to reading.
Don’t ask me why? Had I burned out? Possibly. Maybe my reading matter had simply become repetitive; always the same types of story.
Had I become a formulaic reader? Eek, now there’s a thought—a scary one at that.
Whatever happens, I can’t let this go on.
I’m going to ask my writing buddies to help out.
So, I’m asking for recommendations—any genre except horror or romance or paranormal.
Message me on Facebook, send me a tweet (the links are on the sidebar) or leave a comment here.
I’ll be forever in your debt if you can help me out of this big, black hole.
I knew I’d get stuck on Q. Happens every time, and yeah I know X & Z are still to come and I can’t take a pass on those too.
So, I’m having some quiet time – reading for pleasure, maybe squeezing in the odd chapter or two of a beta read I’m working through, I might even write up a book review too. But, nothing today is related to my theme directly – but reading is important. As is some downtime. I’ve learnt to take my time when it comes to writing or revising my stories. I’ll still meet my deadlines, but some days are just not meant to be writing days.
So, hope you all get some breathing space too.
And I promise not to pull the same stunt on X & Z 🙂
It’s a constant dilemma. You just finish a book. There’s a gaping hole in your life that not even chocolates can fill- although you’ve tried, haven’t you? You need a new book to read and your Kindle is chock full of titles, but you can’t decide.
Do you try a new genre? Maybe give those vampires another go. (Nah, Not even going there!) So, you’re sticking with the mystery, thriller, suspense categories? Cool, I totally get it, too.
How about a new author? Yeah, that could work, but which one?
- Do you pick the latest bestseller? The one everyone is raving about? Probably not – you’d rather make up your own mind, right? Some of those bestsellers have been real humdingers, haven’t they? And not in a good way.
- So, an indie author, then? Great idea.
- And now what? Are you going to ask for recommendations? Oh, lordy, lordy – you’ll be flooded with ‘buy my book’ appeals.
- how about checking out the book clubs? See what they’re reading. That could work. Oh, but you cancelled your membership because they never picked anything you liked. Darn it.
- have you considered the library? yeah, I know it’s a bus ride from here and closes at two, but might be worth investigating. okay, another time, then.
- Where does that leave you? You’re joking, right? You’re going to pick a random book from your Kindle, aren’t you? So, the point of this was what? You only buy books from Indie authors anyway? You know what? Me too!
When in doubt, Kindle knows best 🙂