Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Man Behind the Curtain--When Writers Read

So, we had a weird bout of sickness over the weekend which accounted for more reading hours than normal and I surpassed the amount of "titles" I read all of 2011... by March.  My goal is to read 366 titles this year. (Titles, not books, because I'll be reading a decent amount of novellas this year...and possibly a few could even be called short stories.) According to my Kindle, I've read 91 titles this year. (I keep a separate category on there for "books I've read in 2012.")  This doesn't take into account that some of them are three novellas in a compilation, but I might not count them separately anyway.

Anyway....

I reread a favorite series of books, the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, over the weekend and I haven't read them since I  really embraced writing.  It's very difficult to find books you can lose yourself in once you take up writing.  It's hard not to see the hand of the writer while reading. Then, there are the typos or continuity mistakes which seem so prevalent in both indie and traditionally published books.  In all six of this series, I only picked up on one typo and three continuity errors--which is extremely low in my experience.  (My daughter has decided it's her mission to find all the typos in the Harry Potter books--the literary Easter egg hunt--and there are several in each book.)  It's very rare for me to read books without typos. Out of those 91 titles--I think less than a dozen haven't had a single typo.

Then there is the style of writing...  The Mediator series has a great voice going for it.  It's in first person narration and the narrator has the perfect tone.  I had a bit of a love/hate with the way the author had hooks at the end of each chapter to con you into reading the next chapter... such as: "Little did I know this was the last time I'd see him...." It was effective, but manipulative.  In any other series, it might have annoyed me.

It's weird to read a series that you once enjoyed for the simple love of reading but now find yourself picking apart as you read it to see exactly "why it works."  I felt like a watchmaker opening up the back of their timepiece just to analyze the gears.

On the one hand, reading feels less like a hobby and more like an effective use of hours for research into the craft of writing.

On the other hand, sometimes I look longingly at books and imagine a time when I didn't know about the man behind the curtain.  Because, for certain, once you've been behind the curtain, you can't go back to believing the magic gets there without a whole lot of work.

Speaking of which, I got my editorial letter and notes for the novella due out this summer.  It's very thorough and will make for some deep-revision.  It'll be much better in the end, but it sure looks sticky on this side of it.  I wish I could time travel to the end of this month where it's all done. It's going to be a lot of work and, while I know I can do it, it'd sure be nice to see firsthand that I don't just jack it up to pieces while trying to fix it.

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

I also read the book "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman this weekend.  It made me want to tackle revision with a mighty roar even as I wondered, "Can I possibly get ALL this right?"  Le sigh.

Writing is hard.

Reading is hard.

*goes to take a nap*

1 comment:

  1. *tucks Wendy in*

    You can do it!

    And I know what you mean. For months I could not break out of writer-brain whenever I read. The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene was the first book in a very long time that really grabbed me and made me forget I was a writer. It's been easier since then. :)

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