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:~: Monday, April 30, 2007 :~:

Aloha

I'm posting for Elisabeth today. She's off body surfing in Maui. No Internet access, she says.

Riiiiiiiiight.

I’ve been reading a lot lately – a combination of contest entries and books I have won in contests. And while that may sound fun...I'm not having much of that.

I freely admit I am a finicky reader. I need something really interesting to pull me in, and one heck of a lot of substance to keep me there through the first three chapters. If there's no twist or impossible situation before the end of chapter three, no quippy, humorous voice to keep me entertained, it's simply a matter of time before I put it down. The minute h/h/v does something out of character or a plot twist makes me say, “What the hell?” you can pretty much guarantee I won’t reach the end of the book.

It’s disappointing, really. I love to read. Love to get lost in a good story. Love to reminisce about great characters after I’ve closed the book on The End. But since I’ve started writing, I rarely get to do that. Even before I started writing, I had grown increasingly restless with the stories I was reading.

During this recent bout of reading, I’ve noticed a familiar thread that causes my interest to wane: Lack of consistency. Character consistency, to be more specific. And because plot typically stems from character and GMC is dependent on character, without consistent characters, everything in the story goes wonky.

But I'm going to save that discussion for my post Wednesday. Come back and discuss that topic with me.


For now, tell me...are your reading habits before writing and after writing different? How often do you find a really, really good book that you think about for a long time after you've read it?

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6Comments:

Anonymous Michelle said...

Way to seldom do I get lost in a good book these days. I nearly put a book down today, but because I love the author, I persevered, and I'm enjoying it more, although there is way too much telling for my liking.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

As I've been writing RS, I've branched out into thrillers. I have to admit, I seem to enjoy thrillers written by men, more than our female counterparts. The pacing, suspense, and details seem to be stronger for some reason. Maybe because they don't worry so much about the romantic angles, even if a woman has written a "Mainstream with romantic elements".

Right now I'm reading "The Last Templar" by Richard Khoury. I love anything about the Templars, in particular, but this book is a fantastic example of merging subplots, history, pacing, and strong characters.

I agree with Michelle, it's very seldom anymore that I come across a book I can't put down. "The Last Templar" is a great example, though, of a book done right. I'll be looking for Khoury's backlist!

1:53 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Glad I'm not the only one out there with an edge of dissatisfaction -- I was starting to think I was nearly unpleasable (is that a word?).

Michelle, That's my general opinion on the books I've read -- parts are enjoyable, but overall not a satisfying. Waaaaaaaaaaa!!

Laurie, that sounds like something that could really keep you enthralled.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Joan,

I've been going through the same thing. In my case (and I suspect we might be missing the same element) I feel like the characterization has really thinned.

There just isn't the depth of character that there used to be. Not only is it a matter of character inconsitency (which IMO is another sign of weak characterization) but the characterization is so thin and one dimensional that I just don't give a wig what happens to the main characters.

Which means I put the book down. And it stays down.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

I've gotten really picky too. Lately I've been reading more nonfiction. Last week I reread Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation, because none of the fiction books I'd bought or took out from the library satisfied me. The last really good fiction book I read was Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep.

I hope this changes, because I love to read fiction.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Kerry Blaisdell said...

Me too! Me too! I get very impatient with many published novels now. I never used to skip ahead and read the end, but I'm doing so more and more.

It's so hard to break in to this business -- unpublished authors have to hone and hone and hone just to get read, let alone repped, by agents or editors. But at the same time, it also seems like more and more already-pubbed authors are "skating by" on shallow characterizations, thin plots and a lot of telling.

When I do find a book that's well-written, I really appreciate it that much more!

11:27 AM  

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